Monday, February 1st, 2010

Cold or Allergy

woman-sneeze-300x199Change of season is accompanied by raw noses, embarassing grunts and scratchy throats. But if the symptoms linger longer, you got to worry if its cold or allergy?

To begin with common cold is caught by viruses and has symptoms like scratchy throat, running nose and watery eyes, which will surface two to three days after the person has been exposed to the virus. Common cold gets well all by itself after seven to eight days.

Seasonal changes give rise to allergic rhinitis—the most common form of allergy, which may impersonate symptoms of common cold but is different from it. In case you are wondering why allergy can make your life miserable, the explanation is that in an instance of allergy, immune system goes in overdrive on a false alarm. On identifying a non-toxic substance—allergens, which differs from person to person stimulate white blood cells to overreact. This hyper activity of the immune system harms the body more than the invader itself.

Sudden sneezing jags mean that you are reacting to certain allergens—allergy provoking agents. Allergens in atmosphere—pollen and dust in this weather are often responsible for this.

  • There are two categories of rhinitis: allergic rhinitis caused by allergens, and non-allergic rhinitis caused by irritants, such as fragrances, tobacco, and wood smoke. 
  •  Pregnancy can also bring on non-allergic rhinitis symptoms, as can certain medications and conditions, such as thyroid hormone deficiency. 
  •  Generally, an allergic rhinitis reaction occurs when you breathe airborne, outdoor or indoor allergens and it can last for eight to ten days.

 

Symptoms
 A stuffy, runny or itchy nose
Sneezing.
Watery eyes
Dark circles under the eyes
Coughing caused by the clear mucous running down the back of the throat
 Children who have allergic rhinitis might use the palm of their hands to push their nose up as they try to stop the itching (called the allergic salute)

When the trigger is pollen — from trees, grasses, or weeds — or mould, and your allergies kick in seasonally, the common term is “hay fever.” But allergic rhinitis can also be a year-round condition that can lead to and exacerbate other allergies, such as asthma and allergic conjunctivitis. And repeated exposure to allergens hyper sensitizes the nasal mucosa, so that ever-lower amounts of allergens can spark a reaction, as well as make you sensitive to non-specific irritants.

Tips to avoid pollen exposure

  •  Stay indoors when the pollen count is high, and especially on dry, windy days. 
  •  Keep home windows closed at night, and turn on the air
    conditioner. 
  •  Keep car windows closed when driving. 
  •  Don’t hang clothing and bedding out to dry.

The other treatment options are nasal douching and the use of anti-allergic medication in the form of nasal sprays and tablets,”  says Dr. Amit Kishore, senior ENT consultant at Apollo Hospitals.

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Category: Allergy
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