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No matter what time of year it is, you are susceptible to a cold. Although cold viruses are commonly believed to only be active during winter, you could suffer from a running nose and sneezing in the depths of July.
“A cold is a virus and is different from allergies,” explains Dr. Randy Wexler of the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus. “The seasonal difference is due to different virus strains in summer and winter.” So just because most people don’t catch a cold in the summer doesn’t mean that you can’t — or that you didn’t.
The common cold and summer allergies have a lot in common. They can both cause:
The ways to tell the two apart are simple, and just require a little bit of work on your part. If there is a fever, you have a cold. Allergies will never cause fever, so it’s an easy (but not foolproof) way to tell the difference.
Another thing to check is your mucus. An increase in mucus production can be a sign of either, but a change from clear and colorless to cloudy or discolored mucus is more likely an indication of a cold. If it remains clear/colorless, you’re dealing with an allergy. Finally, cold’s typically last less than ten days, but allergies will run until the irritant is removed.
Depending on which you are suffering through, there are different ways to deal with the symptoms. If you’ve been infected by the cold virus, the sad truth is that you simply have to ride it out, but you can deal with the symptoms. Rest and regular hydration are the best things you can do for your body.
If you are experiencing harsher symptoms, there are ways to deal with those. Using a decongestant can help with clogged sinuses, and a saline spray will help keep your mucus loose. Pain relievers like Tylenol will deal with any pain or fever you may be dealing with.
If you’re facing an allergy, anti-histamines and prescription medication are the best ways to deal with that.
If you’re unsure of why you’re sniffling and blocked up, be sure to talk to your doctor and get an expert opinion.
Even if you reduce the factors that can cause allergies, you may still be suffering. At Houston Sinus & Allergy, we treat patients with every kind of allergy, and summer allergies are common, and completely treatable.
Dr. Nguyen has over ten years experience specializing in allergy treatments, and can assess your situation to provide you with the relief you seek.