If you’re constantly sneezing, coughing, or experiencing a sore throat, the first thing you might think about is colds or flu. It is actually difficult to distinguish because they have similar symptoms. However, those can also be signs of allergies. Colds, flu, and allergy affect your respiratory system, mainly the nose and throat, which commonly causes sneezing.
Since the COVID-19 virus is still out there, you might also be concerned about whether the symptoms you’re experiencing—like sneezing—are COVID-related or just an allergy. It is important to understand their differences to help you choose the right treatment or method of relief.
Differences Between Colds, Flu, and Allergy
Colds and flu are contagious respiratory illnesses caused by viruses. Flu is caused by influenza viruses specifically, while common colds can be caused by different viruses, such as rhinoviruses and parainfluenza, and several coronaviruses (from the same family of viruses as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19). Both can cause a runny or stuffy nose, congestion, coughing, sneezing, and sore throat.
Flu can cause a high fever that lasts for three to four days, as well as headache, fatigue, and general aches and pains. It can lead to serious complications like pneumonia. On the other hand, colds are usually milder than flu and do not typically result in severe health problems. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.
While flu and colds are contagious, an allergy can not be passed from one person to the other. Once you inhale a substance (also called an allergen) you are allergic to, such as pollen, dust mites, mold, animal dander, and other substances that are not infectious, your immune system will react to it, causing your nose to become stuffy or runny. Allergies typically last for as long as you’re exposed to the allergen. It can be up to six weeks during the spring, summer, and fall pollen seasons.
Allergy: Symptoms and Treatments
Your body produces IgE (immunoglobulin E) antibodies when encountering allergens that can inflame your skin, sinuses, and airways. They cause the release of chemicals like histamine, which results in swelling and inflammation. As your body tries to get rid of the allergens, you may experience symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, rashes, and sneezing.
Allergy symptoms depend on the substance involved. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe. In some severe cases, it can cause a potentially fatal reaction known as anaphylaxis. There are also different types of allergies:
- Seasonal allergy (Pollen allergy, dust allergy, hay fever)
- Mold allergy
- Pet allergy
- Food allergy
- Drug allergy
- Skin allergy
- Eye allergy
- Insect sting allergy
- Latex allergy
One of the most effective and natural ways to prevent or manage allergy symptoms is to avoid triggers or allergens. Since allergens are everywhere, making it difficult to avoid,…
Read Full Story At: Medical Daily.