In the dead of winter, sneezing and sniffling come as no surprise to most of us – it’s cold and flu season.

What if those lingering symptoms aren’t from a cold at all? And does it really matter what’s causing your stuffed up nose and water eyes as long as you can find some relief?

Well, yes!  Knowing the source of your symptoms will help you take appropriate steps to care for your health and feel better.

Is it a cold?

If you come down with the common cold, a virus, your symptoms will typically come and go within 7-10 days. Colds are contagious, passed through the air by coughing and sneezing, and also through touch.

Is it allergies?

Allergy symptoms are more persistent, often hanging on for weeks or months, and are triggered when the immune system has an adverse reaction to specific substances, or allergens.

Taking a closer look at your symptoms could provide some clues.

Symptom

Cold

Allergy

Cough

Often

Sometimes

Aches

Sometimes

Never

Fatigue

Sometimes

Sometimes

Fever

Rarely

Never

Itchy, watery eyes

Rarely

Often

Sore throat

Often

Sometimes

Runny or stuffy nose

Often

Often

Treating a cold

If it looks like a cold, several over-the-counter medications can help alleviate symptoms:

  • Cough syrups
  • Decongestant sprays
  • Pain relievers
  • Multi-symptom cold medicines

In addition, other remedies include drinking plenty of fluids, using saline nasal sprays, gargling with salt water and using a humidifier.

Treating allergies

If allergies are the culprit, some find short-term relief with antihistamines.

Long-term, many patients find they need assistance in identifying what triggers their allergies and tailored treatment plan to manage and control allergies.

Oakdale ENT wishes you good health this winter, and offers its services if you find you’re suffering from winter allergies.