Fever watery eyes runny nose: How Do COVID-19 Coronavirus Symptoms Compare To Cold And Allergies


How Do COVID-19 Coronavirus Symptoms Compare To Cold And Allergies

Coughs and sneezes are common in cold and allergy seasons, but the coronavirus pandemic has caused new concerns about these historically “small” symptoms. Here’s how symptoms of colds, allergies and the COVID-19 coronavirus typically compare.

Symptoms Of COVID-19 Coronavirus

Signs and symptoms of illness from the COVID-19 coronavirus can range from mild to severe respiratory illness. These symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Early symptoms of exposure to the coronavirus are similar to that of the flu. These signs include:

  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Sore throats
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Runny nose

According to the CDC, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild, cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough.

Cold Symptoms

Common cold symptoms gradually occur and may include:

  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Scratchy, tickly throat
  • Sneezing
  • Mild cough
  • Watering eyes
  • Low-grade fever
  • Sore throat
  • Achy muscles and bones
  • Mild fatigue
  • Chills
  • Watery discharge from nose that thickens and turns yellow or green

The symptoms of a cold usually last less than 14 days.

Flu Symptoms

Many flu signs overlap with symptoms of the common cold. However, there are some key differences, such as:

  • The flu comes on all at once while a cold gets gradually worse.
  • You’re not likely to have a fever with a cold, but you are with the flu (although not always). You might also experience chills.
  • You’ll have more intense muscle and body aches with the flu.
  • Typically, colds don’t cause headaches, but the flu does.
  • You’ll feel noticeably fatigued and weak if you have the flu.

You also may experience a cough, sore throat, or a runny or stuffy nose. Vomiting and diarrhea are possible signs of the flu, too, although this is more common in children than adults.

Signs Of Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies (hay fever) are caused by the immune system reacting to pollen from trees, grasses and weeds as if they were harmful to the body. This reaction causes symptoms that can be similar to a cold. Seasonal allergies occur at the same time each year. If your child has allergy symptoms all year long, he or she may be allergic to things in the home, such as dust mites, animals, mold and cockroaches.

Allergies can cause itchy, watery eyes, which aren’t typical signs of a cold or flu.

Other common symptoms of seasonal allergies include:

  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy nose, throat, eyes, and ears
  • Nosebleeds
  • Clear drainage from the nose

Usually, allergy symptoms last as long as you’re exposed to the trigger.

COVID-19 Risk Assessment

Franciscan Health has developed a free online assessment for patients who are experiencing symptoms, or think they may have been exposed to COVID-19. This non-diagnostic questionnaire will determine your eligibility for a telephonic consultation with a qualified nurse. A nurse will then guide you with your next steps to the care you need.

Our telephonic Nurse Consultation service is limited to those in the communities we serve.

Hay Fever (Rhinitis) | Symptoms & Treatment


The first approach in managing seasonal or perennial forms of allergic rhinitis or hay fever should be to avoid the allergens that trigger symptoms, if possible.

Outdoor exposure

  • Stay indoors as much as possible when pollen counts are at their peak, usually during the midmorning and early evening (this may vary according to plant pollen), and when wind is blowing pollens around.
  • Avoid using window fans that can draw pollens and molds into the house.
  • Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to minimize the amount of pollen getting into your eyes.
  • Don’t hang clothing outdoors to dry; pollen may cling to towels and sheets.
  • Try not to rub your eyes; doing so will irritate them and could make your symptoms worse.

Indoor exposure

  • Keep windows closed and use air conditioning in your car and home. Make sure to keep your air conditioning unit clean.
  • Reduce exposure to dust mites, especially in the bedroom. Use “mite-proof” covers for pillows, comforters and duvets, and mattresses and box springs. Wash your bedding frequently, using hot water (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • To limit exposure to mold, keep the humidity in your home low (between 30 and 50 percent) and clean your bathrooms, kitchen, and basement regularly. Use a dehumidifier, especially in the basement and in other damp, humid places, and empty and clean it often. If mold is visible, clean it with mild detergent and a 5 percent bleach solution as directed by an allergist.
  • Clean floors with a damp rag or mop, rather than dry-dusting or sweeping.

Exposure to pets

  • Wash your hands immediately after petting any animals; wash your clothes after visiting friends with pets.
  • If you are allergic to a household pet, keep your pet out of your home as much as possible. If the pet must be inside, keep it out of your bedroom so you are not exposed to pet allergens while you sleep.
  • Close the air ducts to your bedroom if you have forced-air or central heating or cooling. Replace carpeting with hardwood, tile, or linoleum, all of which are easier to keep dander-free.


Many allergens that trigger allergic rhinitis are airborne, so you can’t always avoid them. If your symptoms can’t be well-controlled by simply avoiding triggers, your allergist may recommend medications that reduce nasal congestion, sneezing, and an itchy and runny nose. They are available in many forms – oral tablets, liquid medication, nasal sprays and eyedrops. Some medications may have side effects, so discuss these treatments with your allergist so they can help you live the life you want.

Intranasal corticosteroids

Intranasal corticosteroids are the single most effective drug class for treating allergic rhinitis. They can significantly reduce nasal congestion as well as sneezing, itching and a runny nose.

Ask your allergist about whether these medications are appropriate and safe for you. These sprays are designed to avoid the side effects that may occur from steroids that are taken by mouth or injection. Take care not to spray the medication against the center portion of the nose (the nasal septum). The most common side effects are local irritation and nasal bleeding. Some older preparations have been shown to have some effect on children’s growth; data about some newer steroids don’t indicate an effect on growth.


Antihistamines are commonly used to treat allergic rhinitis. These medications counter the effects of histamine, the irritating chemical released within your body when an allergic reaction takes place. Although other chemicals are involved, histamine is primarily responsible for causing the symptoms. Antihistamines are found in eyedrops, nasal sprays and, most commonly, oral tablets and syrup.

Antihistamines help to relieve nasal allergy symptoms such as:

  • Sneezing and an itchy, runny nose
  • Eye itching, burning, tearing and redness
  • Itchy skin, hives and eczema

There are dozens of antihistamines; some are available over the counter, while others require a prescription. Patients respond to them in a wide variety of ways.

Generally, the newer (second-generation) products work well and produce only minor side effects. Some people find that an antihistamine becomes less effective as the allergy season worsens or as their allergies change over time. If you find that an antihistamine is becoming less effective, tell your allergist, who may recommend a different type or strength of antihistamine. If you have excessive nasal dryness or thick nasal mucus, consult an allergist before taking antihistamines. Contact your allergist for advice if an antihistamine causes drowsiness or other side effects.

Proper use: Short-acting antihistamines can be taken every four to six hours, while timed-release antihistamines are taken every 12 to 24 hours. The short-acting antihistamines are often most helpful if taken 30 minutes before an anticipated exposure to an allergen (such as at a picnic during ragweed season). Timed-release antihistamines are better suited to long-term use for those who need daily medications. Proper use of these drugs is just as important as their selection. The most effective way to use them is before symptoms develop. A dose taken early can eliminate the need for many later doses to reduce established symptoms. Many times, a patient will say that he or she “took one, and it didn’t work.” If the patient had taken the antihistamine regularly for three to four days to build up blood levels of the medication, it might have been effective.

Side effects: Older (first-generation) antihistamines may cause drowsiness or performance impairment, which can lead to accidents and personal injury. Even when these medications are taken only at bedtime, they can still cause considerable impairment the following day, even in people who do not feel drowsy. For this reason, it is important that you do not drive a car or work with dangerous machinery when you take a potentially sedating antihistamine. Some of the newer antihistamines do not cause drowsiness.

A frequent side effect is excessive dryness of the mouth, nose, and eyes. Less common side effects include restlessness, nervousness, overexcitability, insomnia, dizziness, headaches, euphoria, fainting, visual disturbances, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distress, constipation, diarrhea, increased or decreased urination, urinary retention, high or low blood pressure, nightmares (especially in children), sore throat, unusual bleeding or bruising, chest tightness or palpitations. Men with prostate enlargement may encounter urinary problems while on antihistamines. Consult your allergist if these reactions occur.

Important precautions:

  • Follow your allergist’s instructions.
  • Alcohol and tranquilizers increase the sedation side effects of antihistamines.
  • Do not use more than one antihistamine at a time, unless prescribed.
  • Keep these medications out of the reach of children.
  • Know how the medication affects you before working with heavy machinery, driving, or doing other performance-intensive tasks; some products can slow your reaction time.
  • Some antihistamines appear to be safe to take during pregnancy, but there have not been enough studies to determine the absolute safety of antihistamines in pregnancy. Again, consult your allergist or your obstetrician if you are pregnant or considering getting pregnant.
  • While antihistamines have been taken safely by millions of people in the last 50 years, don’t take antihistamines before telling your allergist if you are allergic to, or intolerant of, any medicine; are pregnant or intend to become pregnant while using this medication; are breast-feeding; have glaucoma or an enlarged prostate; or are ill.
  • Never take anyone else’s medication.

Decongestants help relieve the stuffiness and pressure caused by swollen nasal tissue. They do not contain antihistamines, so they do not cause antihistaminic side effects. They do not relieve other symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Oral decongestants are available as prescription and nonprescription medications and are often found in combination with antihistamines or other medications. It is not uncommon for patients using decongestants to experience insomnia if they take the medication in the afternoon or evening. If this occurs, a dose reduction may be needed. At times, men with prostate enlargement may encounter urinary problems while on decongestants. Patients using medications to manage emotional or behavioral problems should discuss this with their allergist before using decongestants. Patients with high blood pressure or heart disease should check with their allergist before using. Pregnant patients should also check with their allergist before starting decongestants.

Nonprescription decongestant nasal sprays work within minutes and last for hours, but you should not use them for more than a few days at a time unless instructed by your allergist. Prolonged use can cause rhinitis medicamentosa or rebound swelling of the nasal tissue, leading to more frequent congestion and need to re-dose medication more frequently than recommended. Stopping the use of the decongestant nasal spray will cure the swelling if there is no underlying disorder.

Other nasal sprays

Nonprescription saline nasal sprays will help counteract symptoms such as dry nasal passages or thick nasal mucus. Unlike decongestant nasal sprays, a saline nasal spray can be used as often as it is needed. Sometimes an allergist may recommend washing (douching) the nasal passage. There are many OTC delivery systems for saline rinses, including neti pots and saline rinse bottles.

Nasal cromolyn (Nasalcrom) blocks the body’s release of allergy-causing substances. It does not work in all patients. The full dose is four times daily, and improvement of symptoms may take several weeks. Nasal cromolyn can help prevent allergic nasal reactions if taken prior to an allergen exposure.

Nasal ipratropium bromide spray (Atrovent) can help reduce nasal drainage from allergic rhinitis or some forms of nonallergic rhinitis.

Another prescription nasal spray option is an intranasal antihistamine. These medications, such as azelastine (Astelin) or olopatadine (Patanase), are older antihistamines with some allergy cell stabilizing properties that can be used alone or with other medications including oral antihistamines and intranasal steroids. One nice feature of these medications is that they work quickly enough that they can be used as needed rather than every day. They can also help relieve nasal congestion and post nasal drainage but can cause sedation in some patients. Azelastine in particular may have an unpleasant taste.

Leukatriene pathway inhibitors

Leukotriene pathway inhibitors (montelukast, zafirlukast and zileuton) block the action of leukotriene, a substance in the body that can cause symptoms of allergic rhinitis. These drugs are also used to treat asthma and are only available by prescription. Montelukast was recently given a warning from the FDA regarding potential behavioral changes.


Immunotherapy may be recommended for people who don’t respond well to treatment with medications or who experience side effects from medications, who have allergen exposure that is unavoidable or who desire a more permanent solution to their allergies. Immunotherapy can be very effective in controlling allergic symptoms, but it doesn’t help the symptoms produced by nonallergic rhinitis.

Two types of immunotherapy are available: allergy shots and sublingual (under-the-tongue) tablets.

  • Allergy shots: A treatment program, which typically continues for three to five years, consists of injections of a diluted allergy extract, administered frequently in increasing doses until a maintenance dose is reached. Then the injection schedule is changed so that the same dose is given with longer intervals between injections. Immunotherapy helps the body build tolerance to the effects of the allergen, reduces the intensity of symptoms caused by allergen exposure and sometimes can make skin test reactions disappear. As tolerance develops over several months, symptoms should improve.
  • Sublingual tablets: This type of immunotherapy was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2014. Starting several months before allergy season begins, patients dissolve a tablet under the tongue daily. Some patients benefit from year-round treatment. Treatment can continue for as long as three years. Only a few allergens (certain grass and ragweed pollens and house dust mite) can be treated now with this method, but it is a promising therapy for the future.
Eye allergy preparations and eyedrops

Eye allergy preparations may be helpful when the eyes are affected by the same allergens that trigger rhinitis, causing redness, swelling, watery eyes and itching. OTC eyedrops and oral medications are commonly used for short-term relief of some eye allergy symptoms. They may not relieve all symptoms, though, and prolonged use of some of these drops may cause your condition to worsen.

Prescription eyedrops and oral medications also are used to treat eye allergies. Prescription eyedrops provide both short- and long-term targeted relief of eye allergy symptoms.

Check with your allergist or pharmacist if you are unsure about a specific drug or formula.

Treatments that are not recommended for allergic rhinitis

  • Antibiotics: Effective for the treatment of bacterial infections, antibiotics do not affect the course of uncomplicated common colds (a viral infection) and are of no benefit for noninfectious rhinitis, including allergic rhinitis.
  • Nasal surgery: Surgery is not a treatment for allergic rhinitis, but it may help if patients have nasal polyps or chronic sinusitis that is not responsive to antibiotics or nasal steroid sprays.


Is this your child’s symptom?

  • Runny nose and sore throat caused by a virus
  • You think your child has a cold. Reason: Other family members, friends or classmates have same symptoms.
  • Also called an Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)

Symptoms of a Cold

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • The nasal discharge starts clear but changes to gray. It can also be yellow or green.
  • Most children have a fever at the start.
  • A sore throat can be the first sign
  • At times, the child may also have a cough and hoarse voice. Sometimes, watery eyes and swollen lymph nodes in the neck also occur.

Cause of Colds

  • Colds are caused by many respiratory viruses. Healthy children get about 6 colds a year.
  • Influenza virus causes a bad cold with more fever and muscle aches.
  • Colds are not serious. With a cold, about 5 and 10% of children develop another health problem. Most often, this is an ear or sinus infection. These are caused by a bacteria.

Colds: Normal Viral Symptoms

  • Colds can cause a runny nose, sore throat, hoarse voice, a cough or croup. They can also cause stuffiness of the nose, sinus or ear. Red watery eyes can also occur. Colds are the most common reason for calls to the doctor. This is because of all the symptoms that occur with colds.
  • Cold symptoms are also the number one reason for office and ER visits. Hopefully, this information will save you time and money. It can help you to avoid some needless trips to the doctor. The cold symptoms listed below are normal. These children don’t need to be seen:
    • Fever up to 3 days (unless it goes above 104° F or 40° C)
    • Sore throat up to 5 days (with other cold symptoms)
    • Nasal discharge and congestion up to 2 weeks
    • Coughs up to 3 weeks

Colds: Symptoms of Secondary Bacterial Infections (other health problems)

Using this guide, you can decide if your child has developed another health problem. This happens in about 5 to 10% of children who have a cold. Many will have an ear infection or sinus infection. Look for these symptoms:

  • Earache or ear discharge
  • Sinus pain not relieved by nasal washes
  • Lots of pus in the eyes (Eyelids stuck together after naps)
  • Trouble breathing or rapid breathing (could have pneumonia)
  • Fever lasts over 3 days
  • Fever that goes away for 24 hours and then returns
  • Sore throat lasts over 5 days (may have Strep throat)
  • Nasal discharge lasts over 2 weeks
  • Cough lasts over 3 weeks

Trouble Breathing: How to Tell

Trouble breathing is a reason to see a doctor right away. Respiratory distress is the medical name for trouble breathing. Here are symptoms to worry about:

  • Struggling for each breath or shortness of breath
  • Tight breathing so that your child can barely speak or cry
  • Ribs are pulling in with each breath (called retractions)
  • Breathing has become noisy (such as wheezes)
  • Breathing is much faster than normal
  • Lips or face turn a blue color

When to Call for Colds

Call 911 Now

  • Severe trouble breathing (struggling for each breath, can barely speak or cry)
  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

  • Trouble breathing, but not severe. Exception: gone after cleaning out the nose.
  • Wheezing (high-pitched purring or whistling sound when breathing out)
  • Breathing is much faster than normal
  • Trouble swallowing and new onset drooling
  • High-risk child (such as cystic fibrosis or other chronic lung disease)
  • Weak immune system. Examples are: sickle cell disease, HIV, cancer, organ transplant, taking oral steroids.
  • Fever over 104° F (40° C)
  • Fever in baby less than 12 weeks old. Caution: do NOT give your baby any fever medicine before being seen.
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Age less than 6 months old
  • Earache or ear drainage
  • Yellow or green pus from eyes
  • Sinus pain (not just congestion) around cheekbone or eyes
  • Fever lasts more than 3 days
  • Fever returns after being gone more than 24 hours
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Contact Doctor During Office Hours

  • Blocked nose wakes up from sleep
  • Yellow scabs around the nasal openings. Use an antibiotic ointment.
  • Sore throat lasts more than 5 days
  • Sinus congestion and fullness lasts more than 14 days
  • Nasal discharge lasts more than 2 weeks
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Mild cold with no other problems

Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations

If your child’s illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.

Care Advice for a Cold

  1. What You Should Know About Colds:
    • It’s normal for healthy children to get at least 6 colds a year. This is because there are so many viruses that cause colds. With each new cold, your child’s body builds up immunity to that virus.
    • Most parents know when their child has a cold. Sometimes, they have it too or other children in school have it. Most often, you don’t need to call or see your child’s doctor. You do need to call your child’s doctor if your child develops a complication. Examples are an earache or if the symptoms last too long.
    • The normal cold lasts about 2 weeks. There are no drugs to make it go away sooner.
    • But, there are good ways to help many of the symptoms. With most colds, the starting symptom is a runny nose. This is followed in 3 or 4 days by a stuffy nose. The treatment for each symptom is different.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. For a Runny Nose with Lots of Discharge: Blow or Suction the Nose
    • The nasal mucus and discharge is washing germs out of the nose and sinuses.
    • Blowing the nose is all that’s needed. Teach your child how to blow the nose at age 2 or 3.
    • For younger children, gently suction the nose with a suction bulb.
    • Put petroleum jelly on the skin under the nose. Wash the skin first with warm water. This will help to protect the nostrils from any redness.
  3. Nasal Saline to Open a Blocked Nose:
    • Use saline (salt water) nose spray to loosen up the dried mucus. If you don’t have saline, you can use a few drops of water. Use distilled water, bottled water or boiled tap water.
    • Step 1. Put 3 drops in each nostril. If under 1 year old, use 1 drop.
    • Step 2. Blow (or suction) each nostril out while closing off the other nostril. Then, do the other side.
    • Step 3. Repeat nose drops and blowing (or suctioning) until the discharge is clear.
    • How Often. Do nasal saline rinses when your child can’t breathe through the nose.
    • Limit. If under 1 year old, no more than 4 times per day or before every feeding.
    • Saline nose drops or spray can be bought in any drugstore. No prescription is needed.
    • Saline nose drops can also be made at home. Use ½ teaspoon (2 mL) of table salt. Stir the salt into 1 cup (8 ounces or 240 mL) of warm water. Use bottled water or boiled water to make saline nose drops.
    • Reason for nose drops: suction or blowing alone can’t remove dried or sticky mucus. Also, babies can’t nurse or drink from a bottle unless the nose is open.
    • Other option: use a warm shower to loosen mucus. Breathe in the moist air, then blow each nostril.
    • For young children, can also use a wet cotton swab to remove sticky mucus.
  4. Fluids – Offer More:
    • Try to get your child to drink lots of fluids.
    • Goal: keep your child well hydrated.
    • It also will thin out the mucus discharge from the nose.
    • It also loosens up any phlegm in the lungs. Then it’s easier to cough up.
  5. Humidifier:
    • If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier.
    • Reason: dry air makes nasal mucus thicker.
  6. Medicines for Colds:
    • Cold Medicines. Don’t give any drugstore cold or cough medicines to young children. They are not approved by the FDA under 6 years. Reasons: not safe and can cause serious side effects. Also, they are not helpful. They can’t remove dried mucus from the nose. Nasal saline works best.
    • Allergy Medicines. They are not helpful, unless your child also has nasal allergies. They can also help an allergic cough.
    • No Antibiotics. Antibiotics are not helpful for colds. Antibiotics may be used if your child gets an ear or sinus infection.
  7. Other Symptoms of Colds – Treatment:
    • Pain or Fever. Use acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) to treat muscle aches, sore throat or headaches. Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil). You can also use these medicines for fever above 102° F (39° C).
    • Sore Throat. If over 6 years of age, your child can also suck on hard candy. For children over 1 year old, sip warm chicken broth. Some children prefer cold foods, such as popsicles or ice cream.
    • Cough. For children over 1 year old, give honey ½ to 1 teaspoon (2 to 5 mL). Caution: do not use honey until 1 year old. If over 6 years of age, you can also use cough drops. Avoid cough drops before 6 years. Reason: risk of choking.
    • Red Eyes. Rinse eyelids often with wet cotton balls.
  8. Return to School:
    • Your child can go back to school after the fever is gone. Your child should also feel well enough to join in normal activities.
    • For practical purposes, the spread of colds can’t be prevented.
  9. What to Expect:
    • Fever can last 2-3 days
    • Nasal drainage can last 7-14 days
    • Cough can last 2-3 weeks
  10. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Trouble breathing occurs
    • Earache occurs
    • Fever lasts more than 3 days or goes above 104° F (40° C)
    • Any fever if under 12 weeks old
    • Nasal discharge lasts more than 14 days
    • Cough lasts more than 3 weeks
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse
  11. Extra Advice – Air Travel with Colds:
    • It’s safe to fly when your child has a cold.
    • He could get some mild ear congestion or even a brief earache while flying. Most often, that can be prevented. (See # 12).
    • Flying will not cause an ear infection.
  12. Extra Advice – Prevent Ear Congestion During Air Travel:
    • Most symptoms happen when the airplane is coming down in altitude. This is the descent of the plane during the 15 minutes before landing.
    • Keep your child awake during takeoff and descent.
    • Swallow during descent using fluids or a pacifier.
    • Children over age 4 can chew gum during descent.
    • Yawning during descent also can open the middle ear.
    • Drink lots of fluids throughout the flight. This will prevent the nasal secretions from drying out.

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the ‘Call Your Doctor’ symptoms.

Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.

Last Reviewed: 05/01/2021

Last Revised: 03/11/2021

Copyright 2000-2021. Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.

Common Cold | Johns Hopkins Medicine

What is the common cold?

The common cold leads to more healthcare provider visits and absences from school and work than any other illness each year. It is caused by any one of several viruses and is easily spread to others. It’s not caused by cold weather or getting wet.

What causes the common cold?

A cold is caused by any one of several viruses that causes inflammation of the membranes that line the nose and throat. It can result from any one of more than 200 different viruses. But, the rhinoviruses causes most colds.

The common cold is very easily spread to others. It’s often spread through airborne droplets that are coughed or sneezed into the air by the sick person. The droplets are then inhaled by another person. Colds can also be spread when a sick person touches you or a surface (like a doorknob) that you then touch.

Contrary to popular belief, cold weather or being chilled doesn’t cause a cold. However, more colds do occur during the cold season (early fall to late winter). This is probably due to a variety of factors, including:

  • Schools are in session, increasing the risk for exposure to the virus

  • People stay more indoors and are in closer proximity to each other

  • Low humidity, causing dry nasal passages which are more susceptible to cold viruses

Who is at risk for the common cold?

Everyone is at risk for the common cold. People are most likely to have colds during fall and winter, starting in late August or early September until March or April. The increased incidence of colds during the cold season may be attributed to the fact that more people are indoors and close to each other. In addition, in cold, dry weather, the nasal passages become drier and more vulnerable to infection.

Children suffer more colds each year than adults, due to their immature immune systems and to the close physical contact with other children at school or day care. In fact, the average child will have between 6 to 10 colds a year. The average adult will get 2 to 4 colds a year.

What are the symptoms of the common cold?

Common cold symptoms may include:

Colds usually start 2 to 3 days after the virus enters the body and symptoms last from several days to several weeks.

Cold symptoms may look like other medical conditions. Always consult your healthcare provider for a diagnosis if your symptoms are severe.

A cold and the flu (influenza) are two different illnesses. A cold is relatively harmless and usually clears up by itself, although sometimes it may lead to a secondary infection, such as an ear infection. However, the flu can lead to complications, such as pneumonia and even death. What may seem like a cold, could be the flu. Be aware of these differences:

Cold symptoms

Flu symptoms

Low or no fever

High fever

Sometimes a headache

A headache very common

Stuffy, runny nose

Clear nose


Sometimes sneezing

Mild, hacking cough

Cough, often becoming severe

Slight aches and pains

Often severe aches and pains

Mild fatigue

Several weeks of fatigue

Sore throat

Sometimes a sore throat

Normal energy level or may feel sluggish

Extreme exhaustion

How is the common cold diagnosed?

Most common colds are diagnosed based on reported symptoms. However, cold symptoms may be similar to certain bacterial infections, allergies, and other medical conditions. Always consult your healthcare provider for a diagnosis if your symptoms are severe.

How is the common cold treated?

Currently, there is no medicine available to cure or shorten the duration of the common cold. However, the following are some treatments that may help to relieve some symptoms of the cold:

  • Over-the-counter cold medicines, such as decongestants and cough medicine

  • Over-the-counter antihistamines (medicine that helps dry up nasal secretions and suppress coughing)

  • Rest

  • Increased fluid intake

  • Pain relievers for headache or fever

  • Warm, salt water gargling for sore throat

  • Petroleum jelly for raw, chapped skin around the nose and lips

  • Warm steam for congestion

Because colds are caused by viruses, antibiotics don’t work. Antibiotics are only effective when given to treat bacterial infections.

Do not give aspirin to a child who has fever. Aspirin, when given as treatment for viral illnesses in children, has been associated with Reye syndrome. This is a potentially serious or deadly disorder in children.

What are the complications of the common cold?

Colds can lead to secondary infections, including bacterial, middle ear, and sinus infections that may require treatment with antibiotics. If you have a cold along with high fever, sinus pain, significantly swollen glands, or a mucus-producing cough, see your healthcare provider. You may need additional treatment.

Can the common cold be prevented?

The best way to avoid catching cold is to wash your hands often and avoid close contact with people who have colds. When around people with colds, do not touch your nose or eyes, because your hands may be contaminated with the virus.

If you have a cold, cough and sneeze in facial tissue and dispose of the tissue promptly. Then wash your hands right away. Also clean surfaces with disinfectants that kill viruses can halt the spread of the common cold. Research has shown that rhinoviruses may survive up to 3 hours outside of the nasal lining.

When should I call my healthcare provider?

If your symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms, let your healthcare provider know. If your symptoms don’t improve within a few days, call your provider, as you could have another type of infection.

Key points about the common cold

  • A cold is caused by a virus that causes inflammation of the membranes that line the nose and throat.

  • The common cold is very easily spread to others. It’s often spread through airborne droplets that are coughed or sneezed into the air by the sick person. The droplets are then inhaled by another person.

  • Symptoms may include a stuffy, runny nose, scratchy, tickly throat, sneezing, watery eyes and a low-grade fever.

  • Treatment to reduce symptoms includes getting rest and drinking plenty of fluids.

  • Because colds are caused by viruses, treatment with antibiotics won’t work.

  • The best prevention for the common cold is frequent hand washing and avoiding close contact with people who have colds.

Allergies, Cold, Flu or COVID-19? How to Tell the Difference

In today’s world, with every sneeze, cough or tickle in the throat, many people wonder: Do I have COVID-19? For the millions of allergy suffers around the country, this question becomes a little more complex — allergies or COVID-19 (also known as the coronavirus), or perhaps a cold or the flu? Following are ways to tell if you are suffering from allergies, a cold or the flu, or if you should call you physician and get tested for COVID-19.

For any non-emergency health concern, contact your physician or visit an urgent care center where doctors can examine you and determine the best treatment. COVID-19 symptoms vary broadly and can range from mild to severe.


Allergy symptoms range from mild to severe and can occur seasonally or be present year-long. In patients with asthma, allergies can cause a cough, wheeze and shortness of breath. Allergies are caused by your immune system overreacting to normal things in your environment — such as pollen, dust, mold, pet dander — and are not contagious. Medications can typically treat your symptoms and allergy immunotherapy — allergy shots — can often help patients find long-term relief.

Common Allergy Symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Itchy nose or ears
  • Post-nasal drip (which can sometimes cause a mild sore throat)
  • Mild fatigue


The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a viral illness spread through droplets via coughing, sneezing, and close personal contact. Symptoms typically start between 2-14 days after exposure and will typically resolve within ~14 days after onset, whether the symptoms are mild, moderate or severe.  It is important to note that if you have received the COVID-19 vaccine, it is still possible you can get COVID-19. If you are vaccinated and test positive for COVID-19, your symptoms are expected to be milder.

Common COVID-19 Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Intense fatigue, body aches
  • Loss of smell

Key Points to Determine Allergies or COVID-19 Infection

1) Time line and past history.

  • Often people with allergies have a history of seasonal allergies.
  • Allergy symptoms tend to be more long-lasting than viral symptoms.

2) Allergy symptoms often respond to allergy medications.
3) Allergies typically make people itchy. Itchiness is not a symptom of viral illness.
4) Patients with allergies do not develop a fever. Often people with COVID-19 do.
5) Patients with allergies may also have asthma, which can cause coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and wheezing. COVID-19 typically does not cause wheezing.


Allergies, Cold, Flu, or COVID-19 Checklist

Use this handy chart to identify your symptoms and help determine what health issue you may be suffering from.


Body Aches Rarely
Chills No No
Fever No Rarely
Headache Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes
Nasal Congestion Sometimes Sometimes
Runny Nose Sometimes Rarely
Sneezing Sometimes Rarely
Itchy/Watery Eyes No No No
Dry Cough Sometimes
Shortness of Breath Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes
Wheezing Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes
Loss of Smell Mild Rarely Rarely
Sore Throat Sometimes Sometimes
Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea No Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes

For any medical issue, it is best to contact your physician or visit an urgent care center where medical experts can examine you and determine the best treatment. Emerson Hospital offers COVID-19 testing with a physician’s order. Read our COVID-19 testing FAQs.

This information was provided by Dr. Sara Narayan, allergist with Allergy West.

Emerson Podcast: Allergies or COVID-19? How to Tell the Difference

Dr. Sara Narayan, an Allergist with Allergy West, affiliated with Emerson Hospital, explains the difference between allergies and COVID-19.


Visit our podcast page to find the latest episode or subscribe to the Health Works Here Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and wherever podcasts can be heard.

Support Emerson Hospital

Thank you for reading our article on COVID-19 symptoms. As a community hospital we rely on the support of our community to continue to provide our local health care needs. We welcome your help in fostering a healthy community. If this content has helped you in an way, please consider making an online gift to Emerson Hospital so that we can continue to support our community’s health needs.

Related Articles

Decoding the Symptoms: Common Colds vs. Allergies

**Coronavirus Disease (COVID-2019) Update**

Health officials across the United States are responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus. For the latest on the situation and steps you can take to prevent illness, visit the following resources:

It’s that time of the year again. Pollen levels around the country are rapidly increasing at the same time that some of my patients are catching cold viruses at the tail-end of winter. How can you tell if your runny nose and watery eyes are a result of allergies or a cold virus? Sometimes it’s difficult to decode the symptoms, but I have some quick tips for telling the difference between the two. I also have some treatment options that will help you make it through spring without having to buy extra tissues!

What causes respiratory allergies?

If you have allergies, you are not alone. Nearly 50 million other Americans have them, too. In fact, allergies are the fifth leading chronic, or long-term, disease in the United States, and the third most common chronic disease among children under 18-years-old.

Allergic reactions are caused by an over-reactive immune system. Sometimes the body mistakes a harmless substance (like pollen or dust) for a dangerous invader. This results in a release of chemicals from immune cells, which can cause sneezing, itchy, runny nose or eyes, rashes or hives, inflamed eyes, skin, or lungs. In severe allergic reactions, whole body reactions may require immediate medical attention.

What causes the common cold?

The common cold is caused by viruses (mainly rhinoviruses) that get into the cells lining the nose, pharynx, and bronchi. The body’s immune system reacts to these viruses in that it opens up blood vessels and increases mucus secretion. This leads to the common cold symptoms including stuffy nose, sore throat, and cough.

Types of allergies

There are six main types of allergies

  1. Indoor/Outdoor Allergies (allergic rhinitis or “hay fever”): Most commonly triggered by tree, grass, and weed pollen; mold spores; dust mites and cockroach allergens; and cat, dog, and rodent dander.
  2. Eye Allergies (allergic conjunctivitis): Most commonly caused by the same things that trigger indoor/outdoor allergies, but symptoms are specific to the eyes.
  3. Skin Allergies (atopic or contact dermatitis): Most commonly triggered by plants such as poison ivy, oak, and sumac. However, skin contact with cockroach and dust mite allergens, certain foods, or latex may also trigger symptoms of skin allergies. Symptoms of skin allergies include eczema or hives.
  4. Latex Allergies: Latex is most commonly found in hospital gloves and certain paints. Latex can react with sensitive skin or can be inhaled and cause breathing problems.
  5. Food and Drug Allergies: The majority of food allergies are caused by eight types of foods: milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Penicillin is the most common drug allergy, though there are many other drugs that may cause allergic reactions.
  6. Insect Allergies: Most commonly caused by bee and wasp stings, venomous ant bites, and cockroach and dust mites.

Colds and allergies: What’s the difference?

Many of my patients are not sure how to tell the difference between a common cold and allergies. It’s easy to get confused, since colds and allergies share some (but not all) of the same symptoms. Here’s how you can tell if your symptoms are related to a cold virus or allergies:

  • Duration: Colds don’t usually last longer than 5 to 7 days, but allergies can last as long as you’re exposed to the thing you’re allergic to, the allergen.
  • Onset of Symptoms: Cold viruses take about three days (from the time of infection) to cause symptoms. The sneezing, watery eyes, etc., from an allergy can happen as soon as you are in contact with the allergen.
  • Allergy Symptom Characteristic: Allergies never cause a fever or body aches. The following symptoms are more common in allergy sufferers (though can sometimes be associated with colds, too): itchy, watery eyes; clear mucus that doesn’t turn yellow; and symptoms that are triggered when seasons change.
  • Cold Symptom Characteristics: The following symptoms are more common in cold virus infections (though they can sometimes be associated with allergies, too): cough; sore throat; thick, yellow mucus; and winter-time onset. Unlike allergies, the common cold is often accompanied by fever and body aches.

Can I prevent myself from getting a cold?

While there is no way to guarantee that you won’t catch a cold virus, there are two ways to greatly reduce your risk:

  1. Hand washing and hygiene
  2. Avoiding contact and preventing virus spread

Can I prevent myself from getting allergy symptoms?

In terms of preventing allergic reactions, the first step is to find out what you’re allergic to. Doctors who specialize in allergy and immunology can help patients discover what might be causing their specific allergies with skin, patch, and blood tests. For example, sometimes it’s difficult to know if your allergy trigger is pollen, pets, mold spores, or a combination of different triggers. Once you have an understanding of your allergy trigger(s), it’s best to avoid contact with them as much as possible. Depending on the category of allergy that you have, you may want to try the following:

  • Reduce Allergens in the Home: Frequent dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning (wear a face mask to prevent breathing in dust and dander while cleaning) can reduce allergy triggers. Dehumidifiers and air filters can be helpful in cleaning mold and pollen from the air. Keep windows and doors shut during high pollen seasons. Keep pets out of the bedroom if you’re allergic to their dander; that way you get 7-8 hours of dander-free time each night when you sleep. If dust mites are a trigger, washing your sheets in very hot water or putting them in a hot drier for at least 20 minutes can kill them. Allergen-proof bed covers and washable toys are also helpful.
  • Reduce Your Exposure Time: If your allergy trigger is pollen, showering after you come indoors can help to reduce exposure time. Some people find glasses or sunglasses helpful in reducing the amount of pollen that enters the eye and facemasks can help to reduce the number of particles inhaled. Avoid walking outside during peak pollen times (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) and keep your vehicle windows up to prevent pollen from entering into your car.

What are my treatment options for allergies?

Although allergies can be greatly reduced by avoiding your specific allergic triggers, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid them. In these cases, the following OTC allergy medications may be appropriate and helpful:

  • Antihistamines: During an allergic reaction, the body releases a substance known as histamine. Histamine causes tiny blood vessels in the nose and throat to become leaky, resulting in tissue swelling and increased mucus production. Histamine may also cause constriction of the smooth muscle in the airways, and can produce asthma symptoms. Antihistamines work by preventing this histamine release. This relieves itching, sneezing, and runny nose. OTC antihistamine tablets for adults and syrups for children are available.
  • Nasal Decongestants: Nasal decongestants reduce swelling in your nasal passages and make it easier to breathe. Some OTC allergy tablets combine an antihistamine with a nasal decongestant. Nasal decongestants active ingredients are available in both oral and topical medicines. Topical nasal decongestants are applied directly inside of the nose in the form of drops or sprays. Topical nasal decongestants should not be used for more than three days in a row, however, because frequent or prolonged use may cause nasal congestion to recur or get worse.
  • Nasal Allergy Symptom Controllers (Mass Cell Stabilizers):  Like antihistamines, nasal allergy symptom controllers (also known as mast cell stabilizers) also reduce the effects of histamine, but in a different way. Nasal allergy symptom controllers reduce how much histamine is released into the body when a person has an allergic reaction. The nasal allergy symptom controller ingredient contained in OTC allergy medicines is cromolyn sodium.  Nasal allergy symptom controllers containing cromolyn sodium are applied directly inside of the nose. They are available to consumers over the counter in the form of nasal sprays.

What are my treatment options for colds?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for a cold virus once you’ve been infected. The good news is that there are many over-the-counter (OTC) medications and products that can treat your symptoms. If extra rest, drinking hot fluids, nasal irrigation, and saline gargles and washes are not enough to manage your cold symptoms, you could benefit from:

  • Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers: Ibuprofen, aspirin (for adults), and acetaminophen, can be used to reduce fever and aches.
  • Cough Suppressants: Cough suppressants are helpful if your cough is keeping you awake at night, or is making you uncomfortable. Dextromethorphan is the most common active ingredient in OTC cough medicines.
  • Cough Expectorants:  Sometimes cold viruses trigger the body to produce a large amount of thick mucus. If you feel that you are having trouble coughing out the mucus because it is too thick, guaifenesin-based medications can be helpful.
  • Nasal Decongestants: The membrane in your nose can swell with a cold making it harder to breathe through your nose. Decongestants reduce this swelling. Pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are the two most common active ingredients in OTC decongestants. There are also nasal decongestant sprays available, but they should not be used for more than three days at a time.
  • Multi-Symptom Cold Medicines: Multi-symptom cold medicines often contain a combination of active ingredients to treat pain, fever, nasal and chest congestion, and cough. While these medications may provide extra convenience since they treat a variety of symptoms, it’s really important to only take medications that treat your specific symptoms and to avoid taking two medications with the same active ingredients.

Always read the Drug Facts label on all types of medications before you take them. It’s possible that some active ingredients may be in more than one medicine. Also, please note that young children (under 4 years of age) should not be given certain cough and cold medicines; check with your pediatrician before giving any medicine to young children and babies.

It’s important to work closely with your doctor to determine the best allergy management strategy, depending on your living and work environment and unique sensitivities. With careful diagnosis and treatment, most people can find a way to manage their allergies successfully. Don’t lose heart if you’re struggling with allergy symptoms – a physician can help you develop a plan to improve your situation. And if you have a cold instead of allergies – be encouraged that most cold viruses fully resolve in a week or two, and that rest, fluids, or OTC medications can help you manage your symptoms more comfortably.


Fun Fact

Q: What medical condition did the scientist who discovered cromolyn sodium suffer from?

A: Asthma. Dr. Roger Edward Collingwood Altounyan (1922–1987) was a Syrian Armenian physician and pharmacologist who discovered cromolyn sodium (which he isolated from an Egyptian plant-based muscle relaxant) as a remedy for asthma.

Colds and The Flu: Difference Between Cold and Flu

Colds and the flu treatment

There’s no cure for the common cold or the flu. Antibiotics do not work against the viruses that cause colds and the flu. The illness has to run its course. You can do some things to ease your symptoms. For a low fever, mild aches, and pains, take products such as acetaminophen (one brand: Tylenol), naproxen (one brand: Aleve) or ibuprofen (one brand: Advil). Drink plenty of fluids. Get as much sleep as you can. Stay home to avoid spreading germs to others.

Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine for the flu. This only shortens the length of time you are sick. These medicines come as pills, syrup or in an inhaler. The inhaled type may cause problems for some people who have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Some antiviral medicines can cause nausea and vomiting.

When easing a child’s symptoms, acetaminophen (one brand: Children’s Tylenol) can help ease pain and lower a fever. Be sure you are giving your child the correct dose according to his or her age and weight.

Nasal sprays and decongestants are not recommended for young children. They may cause side effects. Cough and cold medicines are not recommended for children. This is especially true for those younger than 2. There is little evidence that cough and cold medicines and nasal decongestants are effective in treating children.

To treat your child’s cold or the flu, make sure that your child rests. Give him or her plenty of fluids. Use a humidifier to moisten the air in your child’s bedroom. This will help with nasal congestion. Use a saline nasal spray to thin nasal mucus. Use a bulb syringe to suction mucus out of your baby or child’s nose.

90,000 Attention! Hay Fever Epidemic

“Hay fever” has long held a place of honor on the list of summer diseases. This is an immune disease to which the human body can be predisposed in conditions of modern ecology, stress and chronic vitamin deficiency at any age. Already, in most regions, allergies are in full swing.

If you have a runny nose in the warm season, watery eyes, stuffy nose, then: “Hello, move over! I am your new girlfriend and call me whatever you like – allergy, allergic rhinitis, but I like Hay Fever more, and by every fourth I I’ll come to visit, that’s my job.I will come to you along with dust, pollen from plants and pet hair and straight through the mucous membrane of your nose. Before you have time to blink, non-stop sneezing and a wet handkerchief will be provided for you. Sorry, everyone wants to live, and especially me! True, my life became seriously complicated when the “Dolphin” appeared in pharmacies for washing the nose, I am especially infuriated by its slogan: “Dolphin washes his nose with comfort”, believe me, there is no time for comfort, I would have survived this summer! “

The lion’s share of allergens settles on the nasal mucosa, and the procedure for rinsing the nose at home effectively helps to get rid of unpleasant sneezing, runny nose, itching.DOLPHIN is a special device with a natural remedy enriched with minerals for a comfortable rinsing of the nose. The balanced solution DOLPHIN completely cleans the nasal cavity from dust, pollen, fluff particles and other allergens.

Right now, watch how it’s done simply and easily on video, just 2 minutes http://www.dolphin.ru/howto/

And most importantly, when you learn how DOLPHIN works, there will be no questions left for you how to help yourself and your children during periods of influenza, SARS and allergies epidemics.

According to the latest official data from an independent study by the Federal State Scientific and Clinical Center for Otorhinolaryngology of the FMBA of Russia, the procedure with the use of DOLPHIN allows you to fight allergens almost 4 times more effectively than other well-known methods!

There are two types of DOLPHIN in pharmacies:

1.with medicinal extracts of Altai licorice and rose hips in a blue package and is intended to help with flu, colds and acute respiratory viral infections in forms for adults and children from 4 years old;

2.with pure mineral composition, enriched with magnesium, in green packaging for those who are allergic to plant and animal irritants (fluff, pollen and dust)

… Washes your nose comfortably!

On the website www.dolphin.ru you will find what many did not know before.

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Allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis

Rhinitis is one of the most common manifestations of allergies.We can say that this is an exclusively allergic disease, and, although its symptoms are not so severe, they noticeably worsen the quality of life, if not forever, then a few months a year is a must.

What is hay fever or hay fever?

This term was coined in 1819 by the English physician John Vostok, who every year at the same time in the summer during the time of hay making, the same symptoms appeared: sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes. Hay fever is not an entirely correct term, since, firstly, with this disease there is almost never a fever (fever), and secondly, hay is not the only cause of such symptoms.In fact, hay fever is a common term used in everyday life for seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever (from the Greek pollen – pollen). It manifests itself as sneezing, watery nasal discharge (“run out of the nose”), often by attacks of suffocation, lacrimation, itching, and sometimes swelling of the eyes, unpleasant painful sensations in the mouth and throat. Allergic rhinitis is caused by wind-blown pollen from trees, various ear-bearing grasses and weeds, as well as mold spores that are present in the atmosphere at certain times of the year.

Due to the increasing incidence of allergies, this health disorder is becoming increasingly known and taken into account by the personal and environment of patients. If a person sneezes once, it is beneficial because it clears the nasal cavity, but continuous spontaneous sneezing and the symptoms that cause it are a completely different matter. Therefore, we say that rhinitis significantly worsens the quality of life of a patient who constantly lives in a state of respiratory distress.

What causes allergic rhinitis?

As in the case of bronchial asthma, rhinitis is a respiratory disorder that occurs when allergens enter the respiratory tract.When an allergic person breathes air that contains pollen, mites, mold, or any other airborne allergen, the lining of the nasopharynx becomes inflamed. This is due to the release of histamine triggered by IgE particles, which are activated to fight the allergen (“aggressor”). From this point on, a strong uncontrolled sneezing begins, which is characteristic of this type of allergy, along with nasal congestion, persistent nasal discharge (watery transparent mucus), tingling eyes and watery eyes, headache, fatigue and a huge number of handkerchiefs.

In most cases, the allergen is the pollen of cereals, trees, shrubs and flowers, which make spring and summer a real torture for people with rhinitis. If allergy tests confirm that a person is responding to pollen, then seasonal rhinitis is caused by the pollen of a particular plant.

However, other allergens that can cause allergic rhinitis are constantly present in human life. The most common are mites, mold and animal epithelium, which provoke chronic allergies.Upon contact with them, the reaction can be either instantaneous or delayed. A delayed reaction usually occurs with constant contact with the allergen. In this case, it is difficult to determine which allergen caused the reaction, since the causal relationship is not clearly expressed. It may happen that while the child touched the dog and played with it, he did not sneeze, and an attack of allergy to the animal’s epithelium broke out several hours later. Some delayed reactions can sometimes be traced back to a positive allergy test.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a person with rhinitis to receive negative results from allergy tests. This means that the origin of his allergy is unknown.

How does it manifest?

Rhinitis begins with a barely noticeable tickling in the nose, which within a few minutes develops into continuous sneezing (sometimes it is impossible to insert a word between them). The condition of a person after an attack changes markedly: a reddened stuffy nose, irritated watery eyes, watery mucus drips from the nose.There are other manifestations that are not outwardly noticeable, but make themselves felt – headache, tingling of the palate and throat, fatigue, bad mood, insomnia …

Normally, a small amount of mucus forms in the nose, which prevents dust, bacteria, viruses and allergens from entering the lungs. A small amount of mucus and secretions flows down the back of the pharynx imperceptibly. However, with rhinitis, the nasal mucosa becomes irritated and a large amount of mucus is produced in the nose, which becomes thicker.It begins to flow out of the nose and down the back of the throat, causing a cough.

Why does nose irritation occur? When the allergen hits the mucous membrane, IgE immunoglobulin signals mast cells about the appearance of an “aggressor”, and they begin to secrete histamine. This substance provokes inflammation of the nasopharyngeal mucosa. Inflammation of the pharynx often causes severe coughing fits in children, which can be confused with other illnesses.

When resorting to the help of medicines, first of all, it is necessary to take into account that they must be prescribed by a doctor.Health is a serious thing that requires a responsible attitude. Therefore, contact a good allergist who will thoroughly study your disease and the various remedies available to treat it.

Treatment of allergic rhinitis

First of all, therapy involves a complex of elimination measures to eliminate contact with allergens. Elimination measures include measures to reduce the concentration of aeroallergens in residential premises through regular cleaning, eliminate pets, birds, cockroaches, foci of mold, food and medicines, reduce contact with pollen allergens during the flowering period, and eliminate secondhand smoke.

In order to eliminate allergens, rinsing of the nasal cavity with various saline solutions is used. However, it is very important that these drugs not only wash out particles well, but also moisturize the mucous membrane, have a therapeutic, anti-edema effect, and in their physicochemical properties and composition are close to the nasal secretion of a person.

The flushing solution must be in a compact package equipped with a spray for convenient and quick use.

To remove pollen, the child’s head is tilted back slightly and two injections are made into each nostril. The child is then asked to blow his nose thoroughly. The procedure should be repeated 2–4 times to soften and moisturize the nasal mucosa.

Rapid and timely rinsing of the nasal cavity using decongestants effectively removes causative allergens from the nasal cavity, thereby preventing them from entering the child’s body and triggering the allergy mechanism. Currently, such elimination therapy is considered to be the first stage in the treatment of allergic rhinitis.

Pharmacotherapy of allergic rhinitis is aimed at eliminating the symptoms of the disease, inflammation in the nasal mucosa and preventing its occurrence of irreversible changes in the form of thickening of the nasal concha mucosa and includes the appointment.

For this purpose, drugs used inside and topical (locally acting) drugs are used, the following drugs.


In case of allergic reactions, the immune system issues a false alarm to common substances such as pollen, house dust.Having received a signal, various immune cells secrete strong substances – mediators stored in special granules in the cells, and a violent reaction and exacerbation of the disease develops in the body. One of the important mediators that causes allergy symptoms – bronchospasm, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, itching, secretion of the salivary and bronchial glands – is histamine. The action of histamine is associated with its effect on specific receptors located on the surface of cells of various organs and tissues. Since these receptors are widespread in the body (in the skin, lungs, mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract), the effect of histamine is manifested very quickly and varied.The action of histamine can be interfered with by drugs that block histamine receptors, i.e. temporarily close them and do not allow histamine to connect with them. These drugs are called antihistamines. They only block histamine receptors, i.e. act selectively, selectively.

Second generation antihistamines are preferred in the treatment of children. Antihistamines are used to quickly eliminate allergic manifestations in the symptomatic treatment of seasonal hay fever, allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, atopic dermatitis.”Old” antihistamines are rarely used today, since drugs of the second and third generation have been created, which have a high clinical effect and rarely side effects. Zyrtec, claritin, ketotifen are used in young children. In older children and adolescents – Telfast, Kestin, Claritin, Simplex. Local antihistamines (vibracil, levocabastine, azelastine) are prescribed as nasal drops or nasal spray.


In the treatment of allergic rhinitis, as in the case of bronchial asthma, prophylactic treatment with sodium cromoglycate (cromolyn, lomuzol, cromoglin) is used.This drug is effective in the treatment of mild to moderate allergic rhinitis. In the case of regular seasonal exacerbations, sodium cromolyn preparations should be prescribed 1-2 weeks before the expected exacerbation. The effect of treatment with cromoglycates in the form of nasal or eye drops occurs after a few days. The course of treatment lasts from several days to 2-3 months.

For patients with allergic conjunctivitis, manifested by inflammation of the mucous membranes of the eye (redness, swelling, itching, lacrimation), cromoglycate is available in the form of eye drops (Opticrom, Hai-krom).


Of the drugs in this group, ipratropium bromide is the most widely used. It helps to reduce the discharge (rhinorrhea) and swelling of the nasal mucosa.

Nasal corticosteroid drugs beclomethasone and fluticasone have a pronounced anti-inflammatory effect. These drugs are prescribed for severe and moderate allergic rhinitis, in the absence of the effect of antihistamines and cromones.On average, a monthly course of nasal steroid treatment is sufficient. The dose is determined by the doctor, the frequency of administration is 1-2 times a day. In the case of a chronic course of allergic perennial rhinitis after a course of topical steroids, it is advisable to continue treatment with nasal cromones.

For the treatment of concomitant severe bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis, it would be advisable to use the same group of topical corticosteroids, for example beclomethasone in the form of a metered dose aerosol and in the form of a nasal spray.The use of nasal steroids in this case leads not only to the restoration of nasal breathing, but also to a more rapid relief of bronchial obstruction. In addition, relief of allergic inflammation in the nasal cavity has a positive therapeutic effect on the course of allergic conjunctivitis. The total dose of glucocorticosteroids administered must be taken into account.

Decongestants are vasoconstrictors for the restoration of nasal breathing. They are used in the form of drops and nasal aerosols.Their action is purely symptomatic. Side effects are a limitation to the use of drugs in this group. One of them is the development of the so-called “drug” rhinitis with prolonged use.

Specific immunotherapy is a method of treatment aimed at reducing the body’s sensitivity to allergens. This type of therapy is indicated for patients suffering from allergic rhinitis, with clearly established allergens, in the presence of certain indications and in the absence of contraindications determined by the allergist.

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) ›Diseases› DoktorPiter.ru

Pollinosis, or, as it is also called, allergic rhinitis, is an allergic disease that has been known for a long time. True, the villagers did not know why it was during haymaking that some peasant began to sneeze, cough, or even lose consciousness. “He doesn’t want to work, he plays a fool,” the villagers thought. So, the “nonsense” should have been knocked out – whether with whips, with a stick … It healed.Indeed, the crisis receded, because under stress, glucocorticoids are released into the blood along with adrenaline, due to which the severity of allergy manifestations decreased. Psychiatrists tried to treat those who, with the beginning of the flowering of trees and grasses, not only had watery eyes and a runny nose, but it came to anaphylactic shock. The fact that the cause of such a reaction of the body to pollen is a disease – allergic rhinitis, became clear only about 100 years ago, when one scientist, himself suffering from flowering grasses in summer, felt similar symptoms in winter, being next to dried plants.So pollen allergy is called hay fever (from the word “hay”). But even a century ago, it was not as widespread as it is in our time. Today, according to doctors, up to 40 percent of the population, to one degree or another, suffer from plant pollen intolerance – hay fever (from Latin pollen – pollen).


A striking clinical sign of hay fever is a runny nose and inflammation of the eyes – rhinoconjunctivitis, which is most annoying on dry, windy days. For some, this suffering is so great that when they go out into the yard at the dacha, they are forced to put on a gas mask.Therefore, allergy sufferers love rain, in damp weather they can breathe freely – rain precipitates pollen.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis occurs most often in children aged 4-6 years, although it can occur earlier or later. During the flowering period of plants to which the patient is sensitive, symptoms of the disease appear: watery, profuse nasal discharge, sneezing, itching in the nose, eyes and ears, impaired nasal breathing. In young children, the symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis can be worn out and often only appear by scratching the nose and eyelids.Outside the flowering season, there are no manifestations of the disease. Year-round allergic rhinitis is characterized by persistent symptoms: nasal congestion, as well as paroxysmal sneezing in the early morning hours. In some patients, nasal congestion is more pronounced at night, which prevents them from getting enough sleep. People with perennial allergic rhinitis also notice other symptoms: increased fatigue, headache, palpitations, and sweating.


The hay fever season in our latitudes begins with the flowering of hazel (hazel), then – alder, birch, that is, from mid-April.However, it happens that patients even at the end of March, when there is still snow, there are signs of this disease. Doctors diagnose SARS because, it would seem, the time for allergic rhinitis has not yet come. But they are wrong. Because pollen in windy weather can travel thousands of kilometers and from the southern regions reaches St. Petersburg.

There is a calendar of flowering of various plants in our latitudes, which everyone suffering from pollen intolerance of certain plants should know.After the trees have faded, dandelion blooms in late May, early June. June – July – cereal grasses: foxtail fescue, fire … At the end of July – August, pollen appears on weeds – wormwood, swan …

( Where to find an allergist in district polyclinics, read here )

As a rule, people with hay fever are cross-allergic to certain foods. So, an indicator of allergy to birch pollen is the rejection of apples – the structure of the allergen of birch pollen is similar to the structure of the allergen of an apple, so if you have a sore throat when you eat apples, then this may also indicate hay fever.Cereals have a cross with cereals – rye, wheat, which means that even in winter a person may experience an allergic reaction to bread and cereals. Birch and hazel have a cross with all stone fruits: apples, plums, grapes, apricots, peaches … If a person suffering from hay fever eats them, a burning sensation begins at the place of contact of the allergen with the body – in the mouth (pollen primarily gets into the eyes and in the nose). All beekeeping products can cause hives, Quincke’s edema (lips, nose, eyelids swell), because honey is pollen.

In many patients with allergic rhinitis, over time, the disease can acquire a more formidable form – bronchial asthma. Moreover, if at the initial stages of the disease only plant pollen is to blame for the attacks of shortness of breath, then at a later stage other allergens can also cause attacks of bronchial asthma – house dust, animal hair, the smell of food. Therefore, in spring and summer, you need to be especially careful about your well-being: if itchy eyes, sneezing and a runny nose appear (in the forest, in the country, on a walk around the city, or just when you were presented with flowers), you need to consult a doctor and receive appropriate treatment.Even if the pollen allergy is pronounced clearly, you should not despair, this is not a dangerous disease, with a careful attitude towards yourself and her and following all the recommendations of an allergist with hay fever, you can either coexist calmly, or get rid of its manifestations, if not forever, then for long years.


If a person notices that from year to year at a certain time he has reactions characteristic of an acute respiratory disease, it is imperative to contact an allergist.To diagnose allergic rhinitis, he will conduct a rhinoscopy (examination of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses using a device), which takes into account the color of the mucous membrane, swelling, and the nature of the discharge. To exclude non-allergic forms of rhinitis, sometimes it is necessary to study the peripheral blood, and in some cases, a cytological study of the secretion of the nasal cavity.

Although most often the doctor needs a simple survey to make a diagnosis. Then he will only “decipher” it, that is, he will determine what substances and in what dose the body reacts.Several studies are required to establish this. The most modern method is enzyme immunoassay: by analyzing blood from a vein in laboratory conditions, antibodies to various allergens are determined. This method is good in that it can be carried out at any time of the year and in any patient’s health condition, in contrast to the classic skin (scarification) tests. Over the past 100 years, they have been carried out directly on a person – a set of non-infectious allergens is applied to a minimal skin incision, and a reaction (redness, itching …) appears in the place where an allergen significant for the patient was introduced.But such an examination can only be carried out during the period of remission – for those suffering from hay fever, this is late autumn and winter. Endo- or intranasal testing is done primarily to determine the causal dose of the allergen for a particular person. A stick with a cotton swab moistened with an allergen is inserted into the nasal cavity, individual sensitivity is determined. After the course of treatment, testing is repeated to find out how the nose reacts and to determine how much the sensitivity to the allergen has decreased.To choose the right treatment, all three diagnostic steps are needed.


According to the methods of treatment of hay fever, it is divided into treatment in the phase of remission and in the phase of exacerbation. But in any case, elimination is required – getting rid of the allergen that causes the immune response in a particular patient.

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to completely get rid of the causally significant allergen, or rather, very rarely. Therefore, almost everyone needs treatment.One of the main treatments for allergies is specific immunotherapy (SIT): injections of the allergen in negligible doses, which are gradually increased. This is a kind of training for the immune system, after which the body more persistently tolerates an encounter with pollen or any other allergen that is dangerous for it. There is a misconception that it takes a lot of free time and discipline to do specific immunotherapy. Indeed, until recently, to undergo a full course of such treatment, it was required to go to the doctor every other day, or even every day throughout the winter.But now there are the newest non-allergenic, but allergoid drugs, and 12-14 injections per season are enough to get the same effect as from the old drugs. Specific immunotherapy can only be used by allergists and only in specially equipped rooms. The season for this treatment begins in late autumn.

Pre-season treatment can be medication and non-medication. It is prescribed not when the trees have bloomed, but 2-3 weeks before the beginning of flowering, so that resistance to the culprit of the disease is created in the body and he is ready to meet the allergen.Drug treatment is taking drugs with the active ingredient “sodium cromohexal”. They are very effective when used topically (instilled in the eyes and nose). They are prescribed before the usually arising exacerbation, and for the entire period significant for the patient. At the same time, only second-third generation drugs can be used for a long time. Antihistamines of the first generation familiar from childhood – suprastin, tavigil, diphenhydramine, fencarol – should not be taken for more than 7 to 10 days in a row, as a rule, they are prescribed for a single dose.Because the first 7 days they help relieve the condition, in the second week, resistance to the drug develops, in the third – the condition worsens. And drugs of the 2nd – 3rd generation can be taken for a long period, they can be distinguished by the recommended intake – 1 time per day. If treatment with cromohexal sodium drugs and antihistamines does not help, hormonal drugs should be used. Do not be afraid of them – the reception is local, so they have low bioavailability, they do not penetrate the body through the mucous membrane.But they significantly reduce the sensitivity of the nasal mucosa to the allergen, have an anti-inflammatory effect, and remove edema.

Non-drug treatment – reflexology (acupuncture), massage, galatherapy, mountain air, physiotherapy exercises, therapeutic swimming, reflexology, homeopathy, osteopathy, hirudotherapy – is very effective in combination with drug treatment and specific immunotherapy.

Both in the pre-season and in the acute period, our doctors recommend complex treatment – medication and non-medication.The fact is that sodium cromohexal reduces sensitivity to plant pollen by an average of 100 times, if you start taking it 2-3 weeks before flowering. Also, specific immunotherapy reduces sensitivity to an allergen by 100 times, and non-drug treatment by the same amount, and in combination we achieve such a result that resistance to an allergen is established for a long time, or maybe forever, subject to all the doctor’s recommendations.


The basic rule of allergy sufferers is to avoid contact with their allergen.For a hay fever, this means that you cannot keep herbs at home, brew them at any time of the year. In the summer, you need to spend less time outdoors, indoors – close the windows, and if the window opens, you should hang it with wet gauze, you should regularly carry out wet cleaning in the apartment. Returning from the street, all family members with an allergy sufferer should take off their clothes in the corridor, wash in the shower, put their clothes in the washing machine, or at least vacuum them.

There are special means for getting rid of pollen in an apartment – air purifiers and vacuum cleaners with a special water filter.

If circumstances permit, during the flowering season of your vegetable enemy, leave for places where he has already passed or has not yet arrived. If not allowed, then lead a “city” lifestyle, do not go out into nature, do not walk where there are flowering trees or grasses, wear sunglasses on the street, drive in a car without opening windows. After returning from the street, rinse the nasopharynx with water.

Use household chemicals, detergents and deodorants, and new cosmetics very carefully.First, do a “skin test”: apply a little cosmetic product to the inner surface of the elbow.

During flowering, the load on the body should be sparing – work should not require large physical or intellectual efforts, sports training should be canceled, planned operations should be rescheduled. Antibiotics and other medications can cause an allergic reaction. Warn any doctor about this to whom you have to seek any help. Exclude from your diet foods that can release histamine, such as alcohol, smoked meats, delicacies, chocolate.

Always carry your prescribed medications with you – they may be needed for emergency treatment if your condition worsens.

Always keep a close eye on the weather forecast. In dry, hot and windy weather, pollen is very active and scatters far. On days like this, try to shorten your time outdoors. The most suitable days to be outdoors are windless with high humidity.

Different trees, shrubs and grasses bloom at different times.But at the same time, they adhere to an almost exact annual schedule ( + 1/2 weeks)

Flowering calendar of plants in St. Petersburg and the North-West)

Plants-relatives within families (hay fever)

Family Plants
Birch Birch, hornbeam, alder, hazel
Plane Platan
Beech Beech, chestnut, oak
Cereals Soft wheat, sowing rice, sowing rye, corn, sowing millet, sorghum, barley, sowing oats, bluegrass, timothy grass, fescue, wheatgrass, foxtail, bonfire, feather grass, bamboo, reed
Hazy Mary, quinoa, hodgepodge, beetroot, spinach, kohija
Composite Sunflower, ragweed, lettuce, bitter wormwood, cornflower, thistle, calendula, aster, Jerusalem artichoke, succession, dahlias, zinnia, rudbeckia, marigolds, daisy, yarrow, chamomile, tansy, tarragon (tarragon), chrysanthemum, arveyssil, coltsfoot, calendula, marigolds, artichoke, burdock, chicory, dandelion, butterbur, milk thistle, leuzea

To avoid worsening allergic rhinitis, do not consume the following foods:

Sensitivity Products
To tree pollen Nuts (especially hazelnuts), apples, cherries, cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, carrots, parsley, celery, tomatoes (tomatoes), kiwi, potatoes, birch sap
To grass pollen Bread, bakery products, bread kvass, flour products, semolina, bran, cereal sprouts, bread crumbs, ice cream, sherbet, puddings, dumplings, pancakes, rolled oats and cereals (oats, wheat, barley, etc.)etc.), corn, sorghum, sausages, coffee substitutes, malt, beer, wheat vodka, sorrel
To weed pollen Melon, sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, halva, mayonnaise, watermelon, zucchini, eggplant, mustard, spinach, beets, absinthe, vermouth, lettuce, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory, citrus fruits, honey
To fungi Yeast dough, sauerkraut, beer, kvass, cheeses, wines, liqueurs, sugar, fructose, sorbitol, xylitol, other products that undergo fermentation during cooking

© Dr. Peter

90,000 I have a cold, is it a cold or an allergy?

Photo by Jill Wellington, Pixabay

Lost sense of smell, itchy nose, watery eyes? Now it is difficult not to panic when you discover such symptoms in yourself or your loved ones.First, let’s try to learn how to distinguish a cold from an allergy.

A stuffy nose, watery red eyes, sneezing and an exhausting runny nose accompany many unfortunate people of Kiev from the beginning of flowering, often to the first cold weather. According to statistics, 10-30% of the world’s population suffers from allergic rhinitis, depending on the region of residence. It would seem that the diagnosis is easy, the main thing is to grasp the seasonality of the disease. But many questions still remain. The most important: how to distinguish allergic rhinitis from a cold?

Rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal mucosa.The classification distinguishes infectious (viral and bacterial), allergic rhinitis and an extensive column “others”, which contains various types of disease in terms of etiology, ranging from psychogenic (yes, stress can also cause a runny nose) and ending with idiopathic (the etiology of which has never been managed to determine).

Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a disease that develops as a result of allergens getting on the nasal mucosa.

Usually AR has a distinct seasonality.In spring, it is caused by tree pollen (birch, alder, hazel, etc.), in summer it is a flowering of cereal grasses, in autumn weeds (ragweed, wormwood) come into effect. Unfortunately, many sufferers of this disease do not react to one allergen, but to several. In addition, there are the concepts of occupational (eg, latex reaction in health care workers, flour components in bakers) and perennial persistent rhinitis that lasts more than four weeks a year. Residents of large cities often suffer from a permanent form of AR, which can be explained by the depletion of the body’s immune defense factors due to the constant exposure to industrial products.

There are several fundamental differences between an infectious process and an allergic one:

Allergies in the past: with allergic rhinitis – yes, with infectious – more often not.

Course of the disease: AR – seasonal or year-round, with infectious disease – it can occur at any time.

Nasal discharge: with AR transparent, abundant. When infectious – yellow or greenish, purulent.

Fever – never occurs with allergic rhinitis.The infectious process can produce various temperature rises from subfibil to high.

The therapeutic effect of taking anti-allergic drugs. AR responds well to such treatment, infectious – practically does not.

Also, AR is characterized by itching and redness of the eyes, constant sneezing.

If there is any doubt about the cause of rhinitis, allergic skin tests are performed, which will be negative during an infectious process. You can also donate blood for total IgE immunoglobulins, an increased level will testify in favor of AR.

Do not forget that prolonged runny nose and congestion can be caused by organic pathology of the nasal cavity, constant use of vasoconstrictor and antihypertensive drugs (rhinitis medicamentosa), hormonal changes in the body (pubertal period, pregnancy, lactation period, thyroid diseases), psychosomatics.

In any case, if a long runny nose occurs for the first time or differs in symptoms from the usual AR, it is worth going to the doctor and choosing the appropriate therapy.

Natalia Fedorova, family doctor

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How to define an allergy – Medical Center Doctor Plus

Allergy has a pronounced clinical polymorphism. Any tissues and organs can get under the negative influence of allergies. Most often, with the development of allergies, the skin, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory organs are affected. Allergic reactions are immediate and delayed, but this division is conditional.

So, it is believed that urticaria is a form of immediate allergy, but urticaria may be associated with serum sickness, which is a classic form of delayed allergy.

There are such clinical variants of allergies: bronchial asthma, rhinitis, Quincke’s edema, allergic toxicoderma, hay fever, serum sickness, conjunctivitis, hemolytic crisis, allergic dermatoses, thrombocytopenia, enteropathy, anaphylactic shock.

Any allergen can cause several symptoms.A birch pollen allergen in a person with hay fever can also cause rhinoconjunctivitis, and can cause urticaria and provoke bronchospasm. People with allergies generally react to several allergens, for example, epidermal, pollen and household allergens at the same time.

Substances such as metals, drugs, cosmetics, latex, household chemicals, foods and other allergens can affect the skin directly or enter the human body through the gastrointestinal mucosa or by injection. Allergies can also appear due to insect bites or emotional distress.

Allergic lesions of the skin are allergic dermatoses. Their common symptoms are itching and redness of the skin, rashes on the skin in the form of hives (blisters, swelling) or eczema (dryness, peeling). The most common allergic dermatoses are urticaria, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis.

Hay fever is accompanied by the following symptoms – itching in the nasopharynx, watery eyes, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing.Hay fever is usually seasonal in nature, occurring during the flowering period of different plants.

Allergic conjunctivitis has such classic manifestations – tearing, sensation of a foreign body in the eyes, burning and painful sensations in the light.

Food allergy most often manifests itself in the form of diathesis. Signs from the respiratory tract can be caused not only by aeroallergens, but also by various infections (ARI, ARVI, Neisseria, ureaplasmosis, pneumocystosis, candida, mycoplasmosis, chlamydia, etc.), which can provoke the appearance of an infectious-allergic bronchial asthma. In order to prevent the formation of such serious complications, it is necessary to constantly be examined for the presence of hidden infections.

Quincke’s edema is one of the manifestations of drug allergy. This is a severe vascular reaction, which differs from urticaria in that in this case the deep layers of the skin, subcutaneous tissue and submucous tissues are affected. The worst variant of the formation of an allergic reaction is anaphylactic shock.This severe form of allergy most often appears in response to the use of drugs or to the bites of certain insects. During anaphylactic shock, a sharp itching appears, followed by immediate difficulty breathing, blood pressure sharply decreases, the pulse is poorly felt, the face becomes pale, sweat is abundantly released.


Allergy –
is hypersensitivity (“hypersensitivity”),

an altered reaction of the human body to the effects of certain factors (in this case, they are called allergens).
Allergy means that the body’s immune system, which protects against infections, diseases and foreign bodies, reacts to the allergen with a violent reaction and exaggerated protection to substances that are quite harmless in themselves.
The term “allergy” was introduced by the Austrian pediatrician K. Pirke in 1906 and comes from two Greek words: allos – different and ergon – act.
Allergy is a global medical problem, as about 25% of the population in some industrial areas suffers from some type of allergic disease.The number of cases of allergy and its severity is growing steadily around the world.

Causes of allergies
Anything that surrounds us can cause allergies: household chemicals, animal dander, food, pollen, mold, insects, latex, medicines, house dust, feathers, cosmetics, chemicals, nuts, alcohol, shellfish, chocolate and even cold and sun rays. One of the main culprits of allergies is histamine. Molecules of this and similar substances are released into the blood in large quantities when, for example, plant pollen provokes an immune response.This causes irritation of the mucous membranes of the nasopharynx, runny nose and sneezing begin, and swelling appears.
The nature of allergies remains largely a mystery. Allergies can occur unexpectedly and just as unexpectedly pass. But in general, the nature of allergies is immunological, and lies in the dysregulation of the immune response. In addition, the predisposition to one or another type of allergy is inherited (atopy), so if one of the parents suffers from allergies, there is a 25% chance that his child will develop an allergy.The chance of getting an allergy increases up to 80% if both parents are allergic.

Allergy symptoms
Allergies are indicated by the following symptoms:
• runny nose and lacrimation;
• recurring regularly dry night cough;
• wheezing in the lungs and choking;
• itching, sore throat;
• rash and other skin reactions.
Clinical manifestations of allergy are characterized by pronounced polymorphism.Any tissues and organs can be involved in the allergy process. The skin, the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract are more often affected by the development of allergies.
It is customary to distinguish allergic reactions of immediate and delayed type, however, the division is largely arbitrary. Thus, urticaria is considered one of the forms of immediate-type allergy, but it can accompany serum sickness as a classic form of delayed-type allergy.
There are the following clinical variants of allergies: hay fever (pollinosis), rhinitis, allergic toxicoderma, conjunctivitis, urticaria, Quincke’s edema, serum sickness, hemolytic crisis, thrombocytopenia, allergic dermatoses, enteropathies, bronchial asthma, anaphylactic shock.
Any single allergen can cause a variety of symptoms. For example, an allergen of birch pollen in a patient with hay fever can cause not only rhinoconjunctivitis, but also provoke bronchospasm and cause urticaria. Most “allergy sufferers” react to a whole spectrum of allergens, for example, pollen, household and epidermal allergens at the same time.

Allergic dermatoses are allergic skin diseases. Substances, for example, metals, latex allergen, medicines and cosmetics, household chemicals, food products, aeroallergens and other allergens can act directly on the skin or enter the body through the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract or by injection.Allergic skin reactions can also occur in response to insect bites or emotional distress.
Common signs of allergic dermatoses are itching and redness of the skin, rashes on the skin like hives (swelling, blisters) or eczema (peeling, dryness, changes in skin pattern). The most common allergic dermatoses are atopic dermatitis (exudative diathesis, neurodermatitis), urticaria, contact dermatitis. Hay fever. Itchy nose, runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing and sore throat are sometimes called allergic rhinitis and are usually caused by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust and feathers or animal dander.Such a reaction of the body is called “hay fever” if it is seasonal in nature, arising, for example, in response to wormwood. The classic manifestations of allergic conjunctivitis are “tears with hail”, “a grain of sand” in the eyes, burning sensation and photophobia. Food allergy in children most often manifests itself in the form of diathesis. Symptoms from the respiratory tract can be caused not only by aeroallergens, but by infections (acute respiratory infections, acute respiratory viral infections, mycoplasmosis, pneumocystosis, chlamydia, neisseria, candida, etc.)), which can cause infectious-allergic bronchial asthma.

Bronchial asthma –
the name of the disease comes from the Greek word – asthma – heavy breathing. The modern definition is as follows: bronchial asthma is a chronic allergic inflammatory disease of the respiratory tract, in which their sensitivity to numerous irritants increases; the main manifestation of the disease is more or less paroxysmal disorders of bronchial conduction, which are clinically expressed in repeated episodes of choking, coughing and wheezing.The number of people suffering from bronial asthma at the moment will impress anyone – more than 300 million people (from 5 to 15% of the world population). Approximately every 12th resident of Russia suffers from bronchial asthma. Bronchial asthma is closely related to allergies and dysregulation of the immune response.

Skin manifestations of allergies are urticaria and atopic dermatitis.
Urticaria is an intermittent rash that consists of irregularly shaped, reddish, raised or flattened formations that cause itching.Urticaria develops as a result of contact with allergens contained in food, medicine, air or clothing. The cause of the development of urticaria is the release of histamine in the skin. Hives are the most common manifestation of drug allergies.
Quincke’s edema is one of the manifestations of drug allergy. This is a severe vascular reaction, which differs from urticaria by affecting the deep layers of the skin, subcutaneous tissue and submucosal tissues. The worst case for the development of an allergic reaction is anaphylactic shock (from the Greek.ana – reverse and philaxis – protection). This severe and severe allergic reaction most often occurs in response to medication or insect bites, usually bees or wasps. In anaphylactic shock, a sudden state of itching occurs, followed immediately by difficulty breathing and shock (caused by a sharp drop in blood pressure), weak pulse, pallor, and profuse sweating (reddening of the skin is sometimes observed).

How allergies are diagnosed
If you have signs of allergies, then you should consult a doctor and undergo an examination to establish an accurate diagnosis.In the case of a particular allergy, the correct diagnosis can be made only after a comprehensive examination and never after one analysis.
The diagnostic plan of examination for allergic diseases may also include:
• bacteriological examination of sputum for flora and antibiotic sensitivity,
• X-ray of the chest and paranasal sinuses,
• consultation with an otolaryngologist,
• general blood tests, blood test for cortisol content,
• determination of the level of IgA, IgM, IgG in serum,
• immune and interferon status,
• provocative tests with allergens (conjunctival, nasal, inhalation),
• determination of the level of specific IgG,
• test of inhibition of natural emigration of leukocytes, etc.

90,000 What is allergy?

For hundreds of years, the human body’s immune system has worked harmoniously, protecting us from “enemies” – infectious, parasitic diseases. But, at the beginning of the twentieth century, civilization has stepped forward, technological progress has led to the fact that we now breathe air filled with automobile and industrial emissions, we build our houses from synthetic materials, we surround ourselves with the same furniture, dishes, household appliances, detergents , medicines.Even the products on our table are often of dubious quality – grown with the use of chemicals, or processed with them in order to increase the shelf life. Our immunity cannot cope with new foreign substances that have appeared and accepts, recognizes harmless substances as potentially dangerous. An allergy appears – this is an acute reaction of the body’s immune system to usually harmless substances.

Today, such a phenomenon as allergies occurs quite often. Young children are especially susceptible to allergic reactions, it is often found even in infants.Many mothers observe scaly spots, small blistering rash, crusts on the skin and reddened cheeks in their babies, the so-called “diathesis” among the people. The substances that cause allergies are called allergens. The most common allergens are pollen of plants (flowers, trees, cereals, weeds), poplar fluff, seeds, house and book dust, dust mites, animal hair, bird feathers, insect bites, fungal spores, medicines; chemical cleaning agents; products – dairy, eggs, wheat, citrus fruits, seafood and many others.Depending on the cause of the allergy and its main symptoms, several forms of the disease are distinguished: food allergy, drug disease, bronchial asthma, hay fever, atopic dermatitis. An allergic reaction can occur in different parts of the body, and symptoms can last from a few minutes to several days. For example: allergic rhinitis, cough, reddened, watery eyes; hay fever, asthma; atopic dermatitis, eczema, urticaria; joint pain and inflammation; diarrhea, vomiting, indigestion.In early childhood, an allergic disease begins more often with increased sensitivity to food allergens, when eating formula milk, cow’s milk, semolina, citrus fruits, chicken eggs. The child grows up and as he grows up, food allergies appear to foods with dyes and preservatives (ice cream, cakes, cakes, marmalade, jam, carbonated drinks), to nuts, chocolate, exotic fruits, and then to household, chemical, pollen allergens, and medicines.

If the allergen is not detected in a timely manner, the treatment is absent or self-medication, the uncontrolled use of drugs, the child may experience dangerous complications – anaphylactic shock (severe allergic reaction), collapse (acute vascular insufficiency), shortness of breath or wheezing, confusion, rapid pulse, cold sweat, clammy skin, stomach cramps, dizziness, nausea, convulsions.In such cases, immediately contact your doctor (pediatrician, allergist) or call an ambulance.

It is impossible to “completely” recover from allergies, because this is a special type of immune system reaction that you inherit. In some cases, adults experience childhood allergies. But if the allergy manifests itself already in adulthood, it is very difficult to get rid of it. Allergic rhinitis (called rhinitis by experts) or hay fever affects 1 in 10 people and is often hereditary.People with other allergic conditions, such as bronchial asthma or eczema, also often suffer from allergic rhinitis. Such allergies are more common in women than in men. With an allergic rhinitis, the following symptoms may appear: itching in the eyes, throat, nose and palate, sneezing, as well as stuffy nose, watery eyes, mucous nasal discharge, conjunctivitis (redness and pain in the eyes). In severe cases, an allergic rhinitis can cause an asthma attack (in people with asthma) and / or eczema.

How can I help my child with allergies? First of all, consult with your doctor and strictly follow his recommendations, and also try to avoid food, drugs and other substances – potential allergens to which your baby has ever had an allergic reaction. Your relatives and close people should know about an allergic disease. Always inform all doctors (including dentists, beauticians, etc.) about any child’s allergic reactions, especially to medications.This applies to both prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs. Before taking any medicine, carefully read the packaging and instructions. For mild allergic rhinitis, use decongestant drops and sprays to relieve symptoms. If an allergy is caused by a drug, stop using it immediately and consult your doctor. Take antihistamines (allergy medications) as prescribed by your doctor. If you yourself have allergies, remember to avoid driving and operating machinery when taking sedative antihistamines, as they can cause drowsiness.For allergic skin reactions, use an antipruritic cream or lotion to relieve the irritation.

Preventive measures for allergies – these should be started even before the baby is born. To prevent the appearance of allergies in the baby, it is necessary to pay attention to the health and nutrition of the woman during pregnancy and during breastfeeding, to the living conditions and environment of the child, heredity. At this time, it is possible to revise your lifestyle, nutrition (exclude potentially dangerous products), eliminate contacts with occupational hazards, for the sake of the child’s health, get rid of bad habits or addictions.It is important to strengthen the immune system, try not to get sick with colds, and take medications only on the recommendation of a doctor, not self-medicate. Children born to a mother suffering from an allergic disease or smoking abuse are at risk of developing allergies. Also, early refusal from breastfeeding or its complete absence can provoke an allergic reaction to artificial mixtures, because the baby does not receive the protective substances he needs from the mother’s milk.If it is not possible to feed the baby with breast milk, you should carefully choose and use only hypoallergenic mixtures, introduce complementary foods with caution. Your doctor can help you formulate a special diet for children with food allergies.

Try to identify the substances that cause allergies in your baby and always avoid them. Keep your home clean and free of dust, lint and feathers. When you are sweeping or vacuuming, knocking out dust from furniture, changing bedding and for any other contact with dusty objects, cover your nose (use a gauze bandage or mask), and most importantly, do these actions in the absence of your baby.Children’s bedding and clothes should be made of natural, non-allergenic materials, replace the feather pillow and duvet with synthetic winterizer, and use special baby powders for washing children’s clothes. Free your child’s room from carpets, curtains, pillows, stuffed animals, bookshelves that can accumulate dust. Timely carry out antifungal treatment of the apartment, especially the kitchen, toilet and bathroom.

Before you have a pet, check if your child is allergic to pets, otherwise it is better to forget about “our smaller brothers”.Try to get rid of bad habits – never smoke in the room where the child is, do not use aerosol cosmetics and household chemicals. Limit walks in the park or forest when trees and grasses are in bloom. During this period, it is better not to ventilate the living rooms, but to carry out daily wet cleaning without ventilation.

If you or your child are allergic to medications, you should definitely have a special card with you, which says which medications you are allergic to.In this case, you will be insured against the introduction of an allergen, even if you cannot remember the name of the drug. The baby should be vaccinated only during the period when the baby is healthy and the immune system is ready for it. Do not forget that your home medicine cabinet must have drugs for allergies, and your family members, close people, friends should know about the child’s illness and emergency first aid measures in the development of severe acute conditions – an attack of bronchial asthma or anaphylactic shock.

Lead a healthy lifestyle, watch your diet, temper your child, try to get rid of bad habits – this is the best prevention.

Healthcare Institution “15th City Children’s Polyclinic”

otolaryngologist Lisovskaya D.