Many parents mistaken allergies symptoms with the common cold, such as stuffy or runny nose, swollen eyes with dark circles underneath, sneezing or coughing, itchy throat or mouth and watery itchy eyes. There are a few ways to tell the difference between allergies and the common cold. Allergies are usually triggered while the allergen is around, there is no fever with symptoms and mucus that is expelled is clear. During the common cold symptoms that can be seen are yellow mucus, no itchiness, dull aches and pains and a fever.
Allergies happen when the body breathes in the allergen. This allergen irritates the immune system causing the immune system to create antibodies to attack the allergen. When antibodies are released they cause the body to release leukotrienes and histamine. These two items are what cause the body to have allergy like symptoms.
Allergies are diagnosed by the doctor taking a history. For example, asking questions to find out if the symptoms have lasted more than two weeks and asking if the symptoms occur around the same time each year. Your family care provider may also order what is called a skin prick tests. This test will tell the doctors which samples of allergens the body reacts too. Another test to be performed is a simple blood test; blood tests will measure the amount of antibodies in the body at the given time.
Allergies are treated by using prescription or over the counter allergy medications and allergy shots. To treat symptoms of a stuffy nose salt water sprays or rinses are effective. You can also help allergies by avoiding the items that trigger allergy attacks.
Helping avoid the allergies in one’s home can be a daunting task if you are not sure where to start. Your children’s bedroom can be made more comfortable by applying allergy proof covers to the mattresses and pillows and keeping pets away from bedrooms. Rid your home of molds by cleaning exhaust fans and making sure they are working in bathrooms to help alleviate moisture problems. Clean dirty dishes quickly, check potted plants frequently for mold, and frequently clean tubs and showers to limit the amount of mold that can be caused by water sitting in tiny areas.
If your child has severe allergies you may want to consider replacing all carpets with hardwood floors or linoleum. If this is not a possibility ensure you vacuum frequently to avoid dust. Replacing material covered furniture for leather covered or vinyl covered furniture will also cut down on dust exposure.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America