Millions of people are plagued by what seems like the symptoms of a never ending cold: running nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and fatigue or sleepiness. However, real colds eventually run their course. The real culprit is an allergy.
You can never really cure an allergy, only manage it. The good news is that once you understand your allergy triggers, and the right way to handle an attack, it won’t keep you down for long. Here are some tried and tested tips, one of the many recipes for life you’ll find here at o5.com.
What is the difference between an allergy and a cold?
A cold is caused by a virus. An allergy is actually caused by your own immune system, which reacts to particular allergy triggers. The triggers differ from person to person, but common ones are dust, dander, pollen, and food.
The two are often confused with colds because of the similar symptoms: sneezing, coughing and itcby eyes and nose. However, cold symptoms will only last for three days at the most. Allergies will last longer, and often occur at similar times of the year (such as spring) or when exposed to similar situations. These will give you an idea of your particular allergy triggers.
Allergies shouldn’t be ignored
Left unchecked and undiagnosed, allergies can escalate into more dangerous respiratory problems like asthma and sinusitis. And if unmanaged, allergies can interfere with activities you enjoy. For example, someone who likes sports may feel too lethargic and uncomfortable to go outdoors.
What kind of allergy do you have?
There are different kinds of allergies. There are indoor allergies, outdoor or seasonal allergies, allergies to food and drugs, insect allergies. Allergies are also classified by what part of the body they affect, such as skin and eye. People can also be allergic to chemical substances, such as latex.
How do you develop an allergy?
Allergies can be inherited. If one parent was allergic to something, there’s a 30% chance that you’ll be allergic, too. If both parents were allergic, your risk doubles to 60%. But you can also develop an allergy at a later age, suddenly becoming sensitive to something they were perfectly comfortable with before. The only explanation doctors can give is that as our bodies age, our degree of sensitivity can increase.
How to manage allergies
Once you know your allergies you can take steps to minimize your exposure to those triggers. For example, people who are allergic to dustmites can remove carpets. Do your research to find out more about ‘the enemy’ and how it works. For example, pollen levels tend to be highest in the morning, so if you are allergic to this then schedule most of your outdoor activities in the afternoon. You can also ask your doctor for medication
Read more from the Asthma and Allergy Association .
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