It’s that time of the year again. Sneezing. Coughing. Runny noses. They’re everywhere.
But how do you know if it’s all just allergies or something more serious?
Dr. Morris Nejat advises checking your mucus. It’s a gross process but for the benefit of yourself and the people around you.
Stringy, yellow mucus are tell-tale signs of an infection. While on the other hand (well, hopefully, a tissue), clear mucus that is white and runny are often allergies. These symptoms should appear around the same time every year. However, persistent allergies can be concerning and should be seen by an allergist to avoid sinus infections.
“Coughing,” Dr. Nejat said. “Could be either one.” More area by which a cold and an allergy intersect would be congestion, fatigue and throat discomfort. More specific to allergies are severe body aches and fever.
So what’s the difference between the two anyway? To start, colds are a virus that kicks in very suddenly. And allergies take effect far more subtly and are simply your body’s reaction to pollen or pet dander (sorry, Sparky—time to go outside) in the air.
Don’t hesitate to see your doctor. Infections usually come hand and hand with a loss of appetite and the chills. Some more aesthetic effects like puffiness and itchiness or what doctors just call “allergy face” should subside a lot sooner. These allergic symptoms can be traced with over-the-counter prescriptions.
Dr. Clifford Bassett some more advice to beat allergies before they start. “We might not be able to prevent a cold,” Dr. Bassett said. “But get immunized for allergies and take vitamin D supplements to be proactive and avoid allergies.”
Oh and men, stop acting so tough. Take these precautionary measures to heart.
“Women get it,” Dr. Bassett said. “Men don’t seem to.”