Is it allergies or a cold?

Girl sneezing into tissue

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) Kids heading back to school means an increased risk of colds and possibly new allergies. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which. Dr. Gell at Grand Rapids Allergy has some tips on how to tell the difference and what to do about it.

People can develop allergies at any age. In the fall, ragweed is a common cause of seasonal allergies. The flower pollinates the same time as goldenrod, and causes billions of pollen grains to float in the air and attach to people. The most common symptoms are itchy eyes and sneezing.

It can be difficult to differentiate between allergies and a cold. Colds are often accompanied by fever, aches, pains, and cough, which allergies do not often cause.

Treatments for allergies can include sinus and nasal irrigation, which is safe even for babies. Water is used inside the nose to clean and gently remove any pollen or mucous. Some over the counter medications like anti-inflammatory nasal spray, antihistamines, and decongestants are also effective.

Look for patterns to determine if you may have allergies, such as certain triggers like pets, dust, or lawn clippings. Skin testing is used to determine if someone has an allergy. Contact your physician if you think you may have allergies.

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