While everyone is worrying about swine flu, let’s make sure you know the difference between common cold or fall allergies

It’s that time of year again when ragweed pollen and mold spores fill the air, leaving millions of Americans suffering from fall allergies. Allergy symptoms present in a similar fashion to the common cold: runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, wheezing, sore throat, coughing and nasal congestion. Similarly to a cold, often only 1 or 2 of these symptoms appear, making it even more difficult to decipher between the two. Not to mention the fact that this year, every time you get a sore throat or feel a little bit under the weather, the media hype makes you think you have the swine flu. In fact, most people don’t have the swine flu but rather suffer with either the common cold or fall allergies or a combination of the two.

To protect yourself best is to understand how to differentiate between colds and allergies and then treat them without delay.

Keep in mind the main points of differentiation are that the common cold lasts about 1 week while seasonal allergies linger for several weeks to months and that most allergy symptoms are not associated with muscle aches, pains and fever while colds can be without being diagnosed as flu.

Help for Fall Allergies

If you think your symptoms are fall allergies here are several tips to keep allergies at bay as much as possible.

  • Keep your windows closed and use air conditioning.
  • Don’t mow your lawn or rake the leaves in the yard.
  • Keep outdoor activity to a minimum; especially during morning hours when allergens peak.
  • Take a shower after spending time outside.
  • Drink lots of water and green tea
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid food allergens
  • See an allergist to determine what you are most allergic to
  • Change detergents and soaps if allergies commence or are worsened by introduction of new products
  • Do not leave clothes you used outside in the closets or laying around your home. Shake them out outside first.
  • Make sure ventilation in your house is good
  • Eliminate dust from your home. Keep it clean with natural cleaning products
  • Change air conditioning and heating filters regularly at least twice a year.

Should your allergies continue to be a nuisance try using a mild decongestant or Benadryl at night. And don’t forget fall allergy season ends with the first frost or by the end of November/December.

Stay away from decongestant nasal sprays as they can often aggravate your other symptoms, leaving you feeling worse and even increasing the chance of respiratory infections. Decongestants decrease your immune system’s ability to fight infections so avoid them. Your body actually does get rid of allergens by giving you a runny nose and runny eyes. Stopping that reaction stops your body from fighting the allergen and you may not want that.

A cold is usually associated with sore throat, feeling sick (malaise), runny nose, headaches, muscle aches and even a low grade fever.

Help for Colds

If you think your symptoms are caused by a cold here are some tips for nipping the cold in the bud:

  • Start taking Lactoferrin 3 capsules twice a day for five days at the first sign of the cold. Lactoferrin is a natural immune booster that supports and enhances your body’s own immune function. ( for more information go to www.drerika.com)
  • Take EmergenC- 1 packet in a glass of water 5 times a day for the first three days of the cold (You can always buy EmergenC at the drugstore, gas station, deli, etc.)
  • Vitamin C 5000-10,000 mg a day for five days)
  • If you have a sore throat take a tip of a teaspoonful of cayenne pepper and mix it with a tablespoon of water and drink it fast.
  • Take a tip of a teaspoonful of powdered ginger and mix it with a tablespoon of water and swallow it in one gulp.
  • Soak your feet in hot water for 15 minutes the first evening you feel crummy. Put on a pair of socks and go to bed early. Do not watch TV.
  • Increase your intake of protein (chicken soup, tofu)
  • Drink 5 cups of green tea or throat soothing teas
  • 4 Glasses of room temperature water ( avoid iced drinks)
  • Spend 10 minutes in the shower in the morning and breathe in that great healing steam!
  • Stay away from junk food, alcohol, soda or caffeine. They will only hamper your body’s healing powers
  • Stay home from work or school so you do not infect your colleagues.
  • Unless you have a fever, do not take medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

There is no such thing as medication without side-effects.

Give your body a chance to heal itself, it usually does a really good job with minimal support from us in the health care system.

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