Is It a Cold or Allergies?

Dandelion field

Managing your allergies is an important part of staying healthy. Common causes of allergy symptoms are house dust, dust mites, animal dander, mold, and pollen.

As soon as you know what triggers your symptoms, try to reduce your exposure to the triggers. This can help prevent allergy symptoms, asthma and other health problems. 

Sometimes a cold and allergies look and feel very similar. Most people however, only have a common cold around 2 to 3 times per year so there are some obvious differences between the two.

How Can I Tell if I Have a Cold or Allergies?

Symptoms of allergies typically are: sneezing, congestion, runny nose, itchy/watery eyes, and sometimes dark circles under the eyes. If these symptoms last longer than 10 days then you most likely are experiencing allergies. If there is fever or aches and pains associated with any of those symptoms, it is not allergies as these are not symptoms associated with allergies.

Preventative Steps for Common Allergy Causes:

  • Dust or Dust Mites:
    • Wash sheets, pillowcases and other bedding every week in hot water.
    • Use airtight, dust-proof covers for pillows, duvets and mattresses. Avoid plastic covers, because they tend to tear quickly and do not “breathe.” Wash according to the instructions.
    • Remove extra blankets and pillows.
    • Use blankets that are machine-washable.
    • Don’t use home humidifiers. They can help mites live longer.
  • Air-Conditioning: Change or clean all filters every month. Keep windows closed. Use high-efficiency air filters. Don’t use window or attic fans, which draw dust into the air.
  • Pet Dander: Keep pets outside or, at the very least, out of your bedroom. Old carpet and cloth-covered furniture can hold a lot of animal dander. You may need to replace them.
  • Cockroaches: Use cockroach bait to get rid of them. Then clean your home well.
  • Mold: Remove live indoor plants because molds can grow in soil. Get rid of furniture, rugs and drapes that smell musty. Check for mold in the bathroom.
  • Pollen: Stay inside when pollen counts are high.
  • Smoke: Don’t smoke or let anyone else smoke in your house. Don’t use fireplaces or wood-burning stoves. Avoid paint fumes, perfumes and other strong odors.
  • Curtains and blinds: The less window coverings you have, the less you have to clean, and in return the less that will collect and harbor dust and dust mites.

Does Mold Really Affect My Allergies? 

Yes, many people are allergic to mold and do no even realize it. The same symptoms of sneezing, congestion, runny nose, itchy/watery eyes can occur for mold allergies as well. They tend to worsen when it is damp outside or after it rains. Immunotherapy is an effective solution for long-term relief.

What Happens if I Do Not Treat My Allergies?

Untreated allergies can sometimes develop into other illnesses such as a sinus infection, ear infection, and inflammatory problems such as asthma or eczema. Moods can also be triggered by allergies if you aren’t sleeping well. Some people experience anxiety and depression from lack of sleep as well as ongoing symptoms. This is why it is important to seek treatment when it is first noticed.

What is Immunotherapy and Rapid Desensitization?

Rapid Desensitization is a unique therapy that utilizes the administration of gradually increasing amounts of an allergic material to a patient over a period of time. This process causes your immune system to build shields against particles or other allergic components that previously caused negative allergic reactions. Immunotherapy is the same treatment as described above, but spread out over a longer period so is not performed as quickly as rapid desensitization.

Eventually, your body will build up its immunity enough to where the allergic effects will no longer interrupt your life or be life threatening. If you are curious if this method could work for you, then book your consultation with the experts at Victory Medical to learn more.

Symptoms of Allergic Reactions

  • Severe
    • Sudden raised, red areas (hives) all over your body
    • Swelling of the throat, mouth, lips or tongue
    • Trouble breathing
    • Passing out (losing consciousness)
    • Feeling very lightheaded
    • Suddenly feel weak, confused or restless
  • Common
    • A rash or hives (raised red, areas on the skin)
    • Itching
    • Swelling
    • Belly pain, nausea or vomiting

Always watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or visit an ER if:

  • Your allergies get worse.
  • You need help controlling your allergies.
  • You have questions about allergy testing.
  • You feel you are having an allergic reaction or you are having an emergency

If you have suffered from allergies for far too long and you are looking for another option, give Victory Medical a call. Our experienced staff will ensure you receive top notch care and answer any of your questions along the way. Send us an email at [email protected] or give us a call at 512-462-3627 (DOCS) to speak to one of our professionally trained staff.

Victory Medical is a multi-specialty practice with locations in Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park, and Marble Falls. We offer various services and are a one stop shop for your needs. Services we offer include: Family PracticeHeartwise PhysicalsPharmacyUrgent CareNatural Hormone ReplacementMedSpaCoolSculpting®Allergy TreatmentPhysical Therapy, and Weight Loss.