Is It A Cold Or Is It Fall Allergies?

Disclosure: I’m proud to partner with MinuteClinic as part of their Fall Allergy campaign. As part of my involvement, I have received sponsorship from MinuteClinic for my posts and activities, but all opinions expressed are purely my own.

Did you know that 35 million Americans suffer from allergies and don’t even know it? That’s because many people confuse the symptoms of fall allergies with a common cold or the flu. I know I have confused them before and thought I was suffering from a cold that just wouldn’t go away when really it was allergies.

The folks at MinuteClinic, walk-in medical clinics inside select CVS Pharmacy and Target stores across the U.S., share the following important differences to help you identify if it’s a cold/flu or allergies. The first thing to consider is how fast your symptoms developed. If your symptoms develop fast, it’s likely allergies because allergy symptoms flare up as soon as you’ve come into contact with an allergen. If symptoms developed over several days it’s likely a cold. The length of sickness could be a clue as well. A cold will typically clear up pretty quickly, within 7-10 days. Allergies may last weeks or even months!

Another common allergy symptom is itchy eyes which are something that rarely occur with the common cold. Along with itchy eyes, allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, headache and sinus pressure. Signs it’s probably a cold or flu and not allergies include: the presence of a cough, green or yellow mucus, severe shortness of breath, a fever and/or aches and pains.

If you believe you have allergies you’ll want to see a healthcare provider. At MinuteClinic, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants can recommend the right course of over-the-counter medications and write prescriptions when medically appropriate. They can review your medical history, perform a physical exam, analyze your symptoms and decide on a treatment plan. MinuteClinic is open 7 days a week, including weekday evening hours. No appointment is necessary and most health care insurance is accepted.

Your healthcare provider may recommend taking an over the counter antihistamine which works to relieve itchy noses and throats, sneezing, and watery eyes. When you visit MinuteClinic, make sure to pick up their J&J coupon book which has $40 worth of savings in it to help you have a healthy fall season!

Along with taking an over the counter allergy medication I try to avoid being outside on days that allergens are high. MinuteClinic also suggests rinsing sinuses to remove mucus and allergens from the nose and also running the air conditioner instead of opening the window on nice fall days. If you do yard work they say you should avoid raking leaves, especially when they ar wet and the likeliness of mold is high, or at least wear a face mask when you do so. Also, remember to  take off your clothes and shoes when you come into the house to avoid spreading the allergens throughout your house.

I’d love to hear what tips you have that help relieve allergy symptoms!