Allergies or Cold? How to Tell the Difference

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26 Mar Allergies or Cold? How to Tell the Difference

Are you sneezing a lot? Are your kids sneezing a lot? How do you know if you have allergies or whether it’s just a cold? This is Vancouver and sometimes it seems like it’s allergy season all year long!

How can you tell the difference?

It can be difficult, especially this time of year during cold and flu season when a lot of people get sick. But with allergies you don’t get a fever, so if your child has a fever, it’s likely not allergies. Also if symptoms are persisting or not going away after 7-10 days and remaining in the mild persistent range then it could be allergies. This is key since cold and flu symptoms generally abate a little over a week.

 How do you treat allergies when you talk about kids?

A lot of the treatments are similar to adults, but you also have to think about what children can tolerate. So for nasal congestion, nasal washing with saline water is very effective but a lot of kids won’t tolerate that. So a lot of times I resort to non-sedating, immune supportive vitamins, herbal medicine and homeopathics that have a side-effect free natural anti-histamine effects. To read more on natural treatments, I’ll refer you to my blog post on environmental allergies.

Allergies can play a role in triggering asthma?

This is a very important point. In children who have asthma or a tendency for that, you can have allergies be a trigger for that during allergy season. So it can be very serious for some children and controlling allergies is particularly important. Getting testing so you know what particular triggers may be a consideration for them.

Metro Vancouver allergy season

Allergy season can be almost all year long in Greater Vancouver it really depends what you are allergic to. Trees are really the main allergies in about February and March then the pollens and weeds take over in May, June, July and all the way into the fall. So yes, it can be a long season.

There is often cross reactivity between environmental allergies and food allergies. For example, it’s not uncommon for a patient to tolerate dairy most of the year until spring. Since symptoms present above a threshold, raising the bar by addressing whole person health is the best way to minimize inflammation in the body.

At what point do you need to take your kids to the doctor?

I feel at any point is okay if you’re not sure what is going on. If you suspect allergies, as Naturopathic physicians we’re preventative so we always air on side of you talking to us about your health concerns.



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