A Cold, or Seasonal Allergies?
The leaves are gold, red and orange, the weather has turned cooler- and, as
if on cue, your nose starts to run, your eyes are puffy and watery, and you
suddenly sneeze several times a day. Is is a cold- or do you have a fall (or
| Check Your Symptoms
Symptoms of allergies and colds can be similar, but here's how to tell the
|Occurrence of symptoms:
||Symptoms often appear one at a time: first sneezing, then a runny
nose, then congestion.
||Symptoms occur all at once.
|Duration of symptoms:
||Generally last from seven to 10 days.
||Continue as long as a person is exposed to the allergy-causing agent
||Often a yellowish nasal discharge, due to an infection.
||Generally a clear, thin, watery discharge.
||Less common than with allergies.
||More common than with colds, especially when sneezing occurs two or
three times in a row.
|Time of year:
||More common during winter.
||More common in spring through fall, when plants are pollinating.
||May be accompanied by a fever.
||Not usually associated with a fever.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Can a test tell me which plant (or mold) is causing my
- Can my allergy be cured?
- Are there medications I can take?
- Are there lifestyle changes I can make to relieve my symptoms?
Did You Know?
- Hay fever is another name for fall allergies.
- Molds can also cause allergy symptoms when they
release tiny reproductive cells, called spores.
- Tree pollen allergies strike in late winter to early
spring, grass allergies can strike from spring through summer, and ragweed
(which causes "hay fever") typically strikes in the fall.
- An allergen is a substance that your body perceives as
dangerous, which causes an allergic reaction.
- An antihistamine is a medication that prevents
congestion, sneezing and itchy, runny nose by blocking histamine (a substance
released by your body's immune system after being exposed to an allergen.
- A decongestant is a medication that shrinks swollen nasal tissues to
relieve symptoms of nasal swelling, congestion and mucus secretion.
Know Your Numbers
- 35 million- that's the number of people with allergic
rhinitis, another name for seasonal allergies, according to NIAID
- Most people develop hay fever before age 30.
For more, please read the Common Cold and
Allergies articles and visit
the Cold and Flu
WebMD the Magazine - September/October 2005
Last Editorial Review: 10/31/2005
© 2005-2014 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Source article on WebMD