Allergies, Cold or Flu?
Causes: Any airborne irritant that triggers the release of histamine in your body. Tree and grass pollen is most common in spring and summer. Fall is the time for ragweed pollen, dust , and molds.
Symptoms: A runny or stuffed nose, itchy/watering eyes, headache, sneezing, or sore throat.
When to see a doctor: If symptoms linger or worsen, visit your doctor. You may have a more serious infection or sinusitis.
Prevention: Try to avoid the allergens that trigger a response.
Causes: Colds are caused by one of hundreds of common viruses that can easily be transmitted from person to person. You can catch a cold by rubbing your eyes or nose after coming in contact with someone who has a cold or by touching something that person has just held.
Symptoms: Stuffed nose/congestion, runny nose, fever, headache, cough, sore throat, or fatigue.
When to see a doctor: Contact your doctor if you develop thick yellow nasal drainage, cough lasting more than 7 days, sore throat with fever above 101 degrees, or facial pain.
Prevention: Wash your hands frequently and keep them away from your face. Avoid sharing telephones, cups, or pencils. Drink plenty of liquids, especially water.
Causes: Several different types of virus cause the flu. The virus is spread through airborne droplets of respiratory fluids when a person coughs or sneezes. If the germ takes hold, symptoms develop within 48 hours.
Symptoms: Fever, muscle aches and pains, dry cough, runny nose, stuffed nose/congestion, headache, and fatigue.
When to see a doctor: If you suspect you have the flu, contact your doctor. Call immediately if unexplained symptoms develop or you have a fever above 102 degrees, blood in your mucus, neck pain or stiffness, or chest pain.
Prevention: The best way to prevent the flu or lessen its effects is to get a flu shot. However, the shot is not recommended for everyone, so check with your doctor first. Do not get the flu vaccine if you are allergic to eggs or have a fever caused by another illness. Wash your hands frequently and keep them away from your face.