Is it a cold or allergies?


Separating symptoms is critical to getting the right treatment.

Allergies usually start with sneezing and itching, while a virus hits quickly, often with a fever.

"Respiratory viruses, like that one, will usually spread through families; spread through employment areas very rapidly. A sign it's more contagious and infectious," said Woods.

This can even be difficult for a person's healthcare provider; what is actually an allergy or a viral reaction.

For more information about how to distinguish a cold from an allergy, read AAFA's blog article, .

What are some strategies you use to stay healthy during the transition to fall?


Comments 9

  • Melissa G

    We wash our hands a lot, make sure we take our meds as we are supposed to. If anyone has dr appts, that person comes home and gets a shower right away and their clothes go right in the washer. 

  • Amber Says Shine

    All. The. Hand. Washing. Seriously, 20 full seconds of scrubbing. As a mental health program manager, I'm very clear with my staff and our clients that they should not come to the office if sick. Trying to work while sick is awful self-care and puts others at risk (and I know not everyone has an employer with good sick-leave policies, so I am grateful to work in a company that actively promotes staying home if sick). I also like the above idea of showering and putting clothes in the laundry after a visit to dctor's office. 

  • Melissa G

    Amber that is fantastic that your work is so encouraging to stay home when you are sick. I wish more places were like that. 

  • Deborah Bartlett

    When I go to any doctor I clean up as soon as I get home. I think those magazines in the waiting rooms are loaded with sick germs. Yikes!

  • Melissa G

    I agree Deborah! I try not to touch anything at the Drs office that I don't have too. 

  • Deborah Bartlett

    I have an appointment with my primary care doctor Oct. 3. I am concerned about all the sick germs in the waiting room. I never hang up my coat in any waiting room. I keep it with me. Germs are like the boogieman. Run!!!!

  • K8sMom2002

    Deborah and Amber, you guys sound like me! I have a "nothing north of the chin" rule when I'm at a doctor's office. And I try to wash my hands as soon as I can (plus change clothes, etc.)

    Let's see … other things that have helped:

    • Flu shots and the pneumonia shot … while these two only work on the virus or bacteria that they are designed for, I think it helps my overall immune system.
    • Exercise and trying to eat right … not always good about this, but my mom was a big believer, and my doc is, too.
    • Reducing stress when we can — it seems like whenever I've had a very stressful episode in my life, the moment I got through it, I wound up with a horrible cold or upper respiratory infection. My doc has explained that stress impairs the immune system.
    • My through-the-door ice maker on my fridge — it's a simple thing, but the number of colds we got dropped considerably when we weren't handling the ice bin in our freezer every meal, even though we were careful about hand washing. Now if we don't have ice through the door, I insist on a scoop for the ice! I also ban people who have any sort of illness from opening the fridge or freezer. 
    • Door knobs and other hot spot places — I try to give them a once-a-month wipe down.
  • Brenda Silvia-Torma

    These are all great ideas!  I was at my DD's pediatricians office twice this week because she was having random low-grade fevers and sore throat and ALL I could think about when we were in the waiting room and in the patient room was "Don't touch the toys and the books!!"  Of course, that's exactly what my DD did.

    Sigh. But, that has shown me that I need to bring a book or something when we are waiting at the doctor's office so she is not tempted to touch everything.

    I like the idea of showering when getting home from the doctor's office…especially during flue season. I'm going to do that the next time I have to go to the Ped or GP. 



  • Melissa G

    This morning, I really thought Bekah was just having some allergy issues, now she is running a fever. Uughh, because she is showing cold symptoms the dr is allowing us to stay home for now. I hope this is not an indication of what this years cold season is going to be like.