Have you had sinus congestion, sneezing or wheezing since last fall? Does it seem that you’ve got a cold that just won’t go away or just keeps coming back? Every year kids get blamed for bringing home a constant stream of colds from school or daycare and making everyone in the house sick, but the real culprit may be winter allergies; not recurring colds.
Winter Cold or Winter Allergies?
It’s easy to think that you’ve got a nasty cold that you just can’t shake. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out if its cold or allergies. How do you know?
Fever. The first sign of a cold is a fever. So take your temperature. A cold will cause a very mild fever. Flu will cause a high fever. Allergies will never cause a fever. If you have a fever you don’t have allergies. If you don’t have a fever, then you may have allergies.
Symptom Onset. Another difference between winter allergies and winter colds is how the symptoms appear. Allergy and flu symptoms come on suddenly. Cold symptoms come on gradually, usually starting with a sore throat.
Duration. With colds, allergies and the flu, the symptoms last for different periods. A winter cold will last anywhere from 7 to 10 days, whether you treat the symptoms or not. After a week and a half, your symptoms should be subsiding. The symptoms of the flu last longer and can leave you feeling weak for weeks. Allergy symptoms will not go away until you remove the offending allergen or stop the action of the histamines and leukotrienes. If you’ve had symptoms for weeks, it is probably allergies.
Common Winter Allergens
When you think of seasonal allergies you probably think of hayfever in the spring or fall. Plants are the major source of outdoor allergens in the warmer months, but indoor allergens cause problems in winter. This is because doors and windows are closed, reducing fresh air and increasing allergen levels and we spend more time inside. Dust mites, molds and pets are the most common indoor allergens.
To learn more about these allergens and how to reduce or eliminate them from your home, read our article Can’t Shake that Winter Cold? It May be Winter Allergies.
Til Next Time!
PS – Get your free copy of Cheryl’s book “You Can Do It! Allergy Free Living”. Click here to download.