Are you feeling tired? Have a scratchy throat? Maybe you nose is running. This is happening to many people right now.
You may be wondering what is going on. Am I getting sick or what?
It is a great question. If the season goes from balmy to blistery we have to deal with symptoms that crop up, and decide whether we are experiencing colds and flus or allergies.
So if you have been feeling fatigued, or you have been coughing or sneezing you might be wondering, "Am I catching a cold or do I have allergies?"
They both share common symptoms of sneezing, watery eyes itching and congestion. Colds and flu usually come on in the winter months lasting only about seven to ten days.
Since colds and flu symptoms are caused by viruses they generally involve fevers (either mild or high). You will see a greenish-yellow discharge in your mucus because your immune system is fighting the infection.
Fall allergies are a little different.
Environmental allergies can happen any time of year depending on what you are allergic to, but they generally show up in the fall.
Mold, ragweed, and dust mites are examples of allergies that we see in the fall. Allergies can last for weeks to months, depending on the season length.
I think allergies have taken people by surprise because the temperatures have been warmer than usual and the trees have produced more pollen. This also means that the allergy season could last up to a month longer this fall.
Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a substance that it deems dangerous to your health. Scientists believe that allergies are very specific to each individual because they have a genetic component as well as an environmental component.
With environmental allergic reactions your immune system falsely believes that the pollen or mold spores are dangerous to your ability to be healthy, and is overreacting.
The overreaction can show up as mild symptoms of a runny nose, sneezing, sinus pressure, dark circles under the eyes, or itching.
Symptoms can show up on your skin as itching or a rash. Or symptoms can be more severe like inducing an asthma attack!
So if you are experiencing symptoms, take a moment to consider whether you have a cold or if are having an attack of fall allergies.
Allergies can begin to develop as you get older so it is possible that even though you haven’t had allergies in the past, this year you are being impacted. Consider allergy testing.
Dr. Dae's Bio:
Dr. Daemon Jones is a Naturopathic Physician who maintains a holistic practice by treating patients all over the country using Skype and phone visits. She helps her patients harvest health and feel great, using a combination of safe and effective naturopathic and conventional methods.
"Allergy: MedlinePlus." National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012.
"A Cold or Allergies: Which Is It? ." KidsHealth - the Web's most visited site about children's health. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012.
"Fall Allergies: The Most Common Triggers And How To Avoid Them." Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2012.
Reviewed October 16, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith