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March 29, 2019
It can be very difficult to distinguish allergies from a viral cold, as both can cause coughing, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, headaches and even red teary eyes. If symptoms include fever, muscle aches, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, swollen glands or red eyes with colored discharge, it usually means the symptoms are caused by an infection. If the only symptoms are those associated with allergies, antihistamines (allergy medicines) can sometimes help, even if the cause is a viral cold.
Pollen and mold are common causes of allergic reactions, mostly through contact with eyes, noses, throats and lungs.
Pollen particles are produced by plants during their reproductive cycles. One of the most common trouble-causing pollen is oak tree pollen, which is often produced in massive quantities in the late winter and spring. Pollen is responsible for “seasonal allergies” in much of the spring season.
Mold is tiny fungi that can be found both inside and outside our homes. Most fungi thrive in warm, wet environments, such as those found in areas of water leaks inside homes. Molds grow year-round and are called “environmental” allergens.
If allergy tests pin down specific allergy triggers (seasonal or environmental), immunotherapy is sometimes successful in eliminating or minimizing allergic reactions. Immunotherapy often consists of a series of shots, with oral immunotherapy rapidly becoming more available.