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Do I Have a Cold or Allergies?

Feeling Sick
Posted on in Articles

If you’re feeling the all-too-common symptoms, like a stuffy nose or chest congestion, you may wonder if you’re allergic to something in Doucette, Texas, or if you are coming down with a bug. Allergies are common throughout the changing seasons, especially as the different types of grasses, trees, and other plants bloom or wither. Figure out what’s ailing you by taking a closer look at the symptoms and severity of your illness.

The Common Cold

The common cold, which most people just refer to as a cold, is actually a virus. There are over 100 different strains of the cold virus, but across the various strains, most people experience similar symptoms. The virus is passed between people through sneezing and coughing, as well as through touch when you have germs on your fingers. You could get a cold simply from using a doorknob that someone who has the virus has touched without washing their hands.

The most common symptoms of a cold include a sore throat, coughing, and congestion, which might manifest itself with a stuffed-up or runny nose. Some people experience itchy eyes and excessive sneezing, although these symptoms are more rare. If your cold is severe, you could have body aches and/or a fever as your body tries to fight the illness. Most people will start feeling better with 7-10 days. A cold that progresses beyond two weeks has likely become something else, like a secondary infection or another strain of virus.

Although the name of the virus makes it sound like you can only get sick during the winter months, you can actually catch a cold at any time of year. The average healthy adult gets about two to three colds every year, while kids tend to catch colds more often because their immune systems aren’t fully developed.

The Flu

Influenza, also called the flu, is more dangerous, especially among high-risk patients like young children, elderly people, and those with compromised immune systems. The flu causes similar symptoms as what you experience with a cold, but the symptoms are typically more severe. Patients with influenza typically feel very weak and tired for up to several weeks. Other common symptoms include headaches, sore throats, and congestion.

If you have a fever between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit that lasts for several days, it’s more likely that you’re suffering from the flu rather than a simple cold. Body aches tend to be more severe, as well as fatigue and chest pain. You can prevent some strains of influenza by having an annual flu vaccine. There are some medical treatment options for the flu, but they only work if you take them within 24-48 hours of onset.

Allergies

When your body has an adverse reaction to a certain substance or multiple substances, your immune system will kick into high gear to fight off what it perceives to be intruders or dangerous particles. Upon exposure to these triggering substances, your body releases histamines to fight the bothersome particles. Release of histamine is what causes the allergic symptoms in your body. These symptoms are similar to what you’ll experience when you have a cold, including sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, coughing, and sneezing. You might also have itchy, watery eyes and/or rashes on your skin.

With allergies, you won’t have a fever or body aches. The sore throat happens because of post-nasal drip, so it’s especially common to wake up with a sore throat when you’re suffering from allergies. Common allergens in the area include pollen, animal dander, mold, and dust mites. You could experience similar symptoms when you eat certain foods. If you’re suffering from symptoms when you’re in your home, the quality of the air coming through your HVAC system could be partially to blame. Regular HVAC maintenance can help reduce these health problems.

Allergies and reactions to the air in your home can cause unpleasant symptoms. With regular duct cleaning service, you can breathe cleaner and healthier air while reducing symptoms, so call McWilliams & Son Heating and Air Conditioning at 936-465-9191 to schedule your service.

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