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Seasonal Allergies vs. Common Cold

Posted May 05 2010 4:13pm

Hi everyone!  How is you day going? My post is a little late today because I have been tending to a cold. With it being springtime and all, I thought that maybe it was just seasonal allergies. Well, after researching the difference between the two profusely on the internet, I have come to the conclusion that I have a cold.

I thought that it might be helpful for you wonderful readers if I posted a little comparison chart of allergy vs. cold symptoms.

Allergies vs. Colds
Allergies Colds
Symptoms Runny or stuffed nose, sneezing, wheezing, watery and itchy eyes. Can include fever and aches and pains along with allergy symptoms.
Warning Time Symptoms begin almost immediately after exposure to allergen(s). Usually take a few days.
Duration Symptoms last as long as you are exposed to the allergen, and beyond. If the allergen is present year-round, symptoms may be chronic. Symptoms should clear up within several days to a week.

A cold is caused by a virus. The common symptoms can include a sore, scratchy throat, sneezing, and a runny nose. Other symptoms may include a high temperature, headache, watery eyes, cough, and an achy feeling throughout the entire body. A cold can last anywhere from a week to 10 days. During that time, a sick person can easily infect a well person, if he/she breathes in germs or comes in direct contact with an infected person. For this reason, be sure to frequently wash your hands, use a disinfectant on any contaminated surfaces and be careful when sneezing and coughing around others.

Allergies are caused by exposure to airborne allergens; as a result the lining of the nasal cavity becomes irritated and inflamed. Allergies are not contagious. The symptoms only vary a little from the common cold. They include sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, itchiness in the nose and throat, post nasal drip that stays clear, and perhaps a dull headache. A high temperature and an achy body are not indicative of allergies. The symptoms last longer than a week and may be year round depending on the allergen. Numerous allergens may cause symptoms of seasonalallergies: pollens are most common in the spring and fall. Allergens such as dust mites, animal dander from pets, molds, fungi and cockroaches may produce year-round symptoms.

(source: http://www.aaaai.org/springallergy/2003/reallyanallergy.stm)

So, now that we understand the difference between the two, let’s take a look at more natural approaches to cold remedies. I looked at quite a few suggestions. Some of them seemed too mainstream (over-the counter cough drops) while some of them contained a long list of herbs I don’t even know how to get my hands on. Then I came across this article from Alive.com that mentioned some holistic cold remedies. The author stated,

“Practitioners of alternative medicine have crusaded for a long time against the overuse of decongestant cold remedies. Their argument is that elevated temperatures and mucus production are the body’s own ways of dealing with the cold and should not be interfered with if they are not excessive. A cold is primarily a viral attack, and the body responds by producing immune system stimulants that are responsible for temperature and inflammation. This causes dilation of blood capillaries so that more blood, heat and antigens flow to the battle zone. Congestion occurs because of the swelling of the nasal passages and the increase in production of mucus.”

I have never thought about cold symptoms that way before, but now realize that this may be true. The article goes on to recommend the relief for symptoms:

  • To cleanse the system of accumulated toxins, observe a day’s fast when the first symptoms appear, then switch to a diet of alkaline fruits to neutralize the acidic condition of the body. Pineapple and grapefruit juice are particularly beneficial. Light food and fresh fruits may be consumed for the next three days.
  • Regular hip baths, steam facials, hot foot baths and hot packs for the chest and head are very beneficial and provide relief from symptoms. Add eucalyptus oil to the water for better results.
  • Research at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio revealed that people who took zinc lozenges reduced the length of their colds by 42 percent. This was not merely symptomatic relief, but a marked reduction in the duration of the cold.
  • Rest as much as you can. Sleep bolsters immunity, and lack of sleep when the virus is in the air is one of the surest ways to contract a cold. Stress is another immune-compromising factor.
  • Of course everybody’s favourite remedy is vitamin C. Several studies show that taking mega-doses of vitamin C (1,200 mg) reduces the intensity and duration of cold symptoms. Lime is also effective, and the juice of half a lemon in a glass of water, taken several times a day with a dash of rock salt, helps too. The salinity of the brew helps ease the nasal passages, much in the same way that a gargle eases the throat.
  • Echinacea is perhaps the best known immunity-boosting herb. It also acts as a blood purifier and antibiotic, and has shown excellent clinical results for most infectious diseases.
  • Drink lots of sugar-free fluids to keep the membranes of the respiratory tract well hydrated. A dry tract invites organisms to settle. Water also improves white blood cell functioning by decreasing the concentration of solutes in the blood.
  • Ginger is an excellent remedy for coughs and colds. Cut it in small pieces and boil in a cup of water. Strain the infusion and add honey. Drink while hot.
  • Garlic soup is an age-old folk remedy for reducing the severity of the common cold. Garlic also has antiseptic and antispasmodic qualities.
  • Milk and milk products, refined foods, animal products, fried foods, and sweet and cold foods should be strictly avoided.
  • Severe flu headaches can be eased by applying the mild paste of mustard or nutmeg on the forehead.
  • Recommended vegetables juices are: carrot and spinach (two glasses in the ratio of 4:1), or carrot, beet and cucumber (two glasses in the ratio 1:1:1). Like vitamin C, the beta-carotene in carrots is also a potent immunity agent.

(source: http://www.alive.com/849a3a2.php?subject_bread_cramb=227)

With all of that being said, my eats today have been slim to none.

2 Slices of millet bread with some butter & a few cups of chamomile tea.

This x2.

I really would love to have some Vietnamese Pho for dinner when Blake gets home. Sorry “Cinco de Mayo,” I love you and your enchiladas with margaritas, but I will enjoy you another night.

Have a great time and be sure to full up on Mexican food por favor!

Kilee

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