Is it a cold, or are they allergies?

Who knows, right? Symptoms are so similar and both of them are very common at this time of the year. A runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, headache, sensitive and watery eyes…how can we know if we need an antihistamine or a medicine against the cold symptoms?

Well, it could be tricky, but is not impossible, and it’s important to know the difference in order to get the appropriate treatment.

Now, allergies, cold, and flu, all affect the respiratory system, but each one of them has specific symptoms that differentiate from the others.

Let’s start by saying that when you are suffering from allergies your body’s immune system is fighting against an allergen, which means that you will experience the symptoms for as long as you are in contact with the trigger, or the element that you are allergic to. If you are allergic to a specific flower, or to pollen, for example, your allergies are going to be present while those allergens are around you. We can be talking about an entire season of many weeks or even months.

When we talk about a cold or even the flu, two weeks should be the regular time that takes to fight against the virus, because instead of trees, dust or animals, the cold is generated by a virus.

Besides a runny nose, the watery eyes and the other symptoms that are easily confused with those of the allergies, when you have the flu or a cold, you will probably present fever, fatigue, and body ache.

Even though there are some over the counter medicines that offer relief for the cold symptoms, there is no a real “cure” for a cold, and most people could recover on their own without the need to visit a doctor.

There are also non-prescription medicines to help with the allergies, but in most cases, it’s important to consult a specialist in order to know what are you allergic to and maybe to explore a long-term treatment.

The main message here is to be careful and to listen to your body. Don’t use medicines if you are not sure about the origin of your symptoms and always, always, consult a doctor if those symptoms persist more than normal.

 

 

 

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What You Need to Know About Food Allergies

When your body reacts to a food in a bad way, you may be experiencing a food allergy, and it’s something that you need to take seriously.

Food allergies can be deadly, but you can manage them with the help of specialists like allergists, dermatologists, and others.

The first thing you need to know is that a food allergy is different from a food intolerance. Food allergies are life-threatening because your immune system identifies a food protein as a threat to your body and proceeds to attack it releasing chemicals. Your reaction to those chemicals is what we can see as the allergy reaction.

It is important for you to know what is the food allergen causing your reaction. The best and more accurate way to know that is with the tests that an allergist can perform. So, once you experience the first allergies symptoms, look for a specialist People can be allergic to any food, however, in U.S there are eight main foods that cause most of the food allergy reactions: peanuts, eggs, milk, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy.

Now, once you know what are you allergic to, it’s important to take care of everything you consume. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Always read every food label
  • Carry your epinephrine auto-injector all the time
  • At restaurants always ask for possible cross contact of ingredients
  • Let your loved ones know about your allergies and what to do in case of a reaction
  • Wear medical IDs with all your information. This is especially important when you travel

To be informed, to plan ahead and to learn about your allergies and reactions, is the key to succeed in the treatment and fight against allergens. Don’t be afraid of them, just cautious.

If you think that you might have a food allergy or you don’t know if it is instead, a food intolerance, visit your doctor as soon as possible. As we said, food allergies are serious, but a good management of them can be decisive in your effort to avoid severe reactions.