Is that sneeze from a cold or allergies?

By  | 

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Spring is here and with that comes seasonal allergies.

Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and people start sneezing as allergy season is upon us.

"Seasonal allergies are super common. The most interesting thing about them is more people think they have them than actually have them. The big thing to look for with allergies is itching," says Dr. Greg Anderson, a pediatrician with Black Hills Pediatrics.

That itching could be your eyes, nose, throat, or ears and if you have a pollen allergy it might be all four. With younger kids, it can be more difficult to figure out if they have allergies.

"You bring a two-year-old in and think he has seasonal allergies we have to decide if it's allergies or just a cold because two-year-olds have colds all the time," he says.

If you do have allergies, Dr. Anderson says it isn't always necessary to treat them. For some people though, spring allergies trigger asthma or excessive sneezing that needs treatment.

"Histamine is the stuff that makes you itch. So an antihistamine keeps histamine from being released in your body," comments Dr. Anderson, "So if you want to have less histamine you have to take it every day. The days you skip your body's going to release histamine and you will itch and have your symptoms."

Over the counter antihistamines like Claritin and Zyrtec should work just fine. If that isn't enough and your symptoms continue to interfere with your daily routine, it may be time to see a doctor for a stronger dose.

"There are some other things we can do, but we generally try to work with the antihistamines first," Dr. Anderson says.

Another way to tell if your sneezing and coughing are allergy related or not is to check for a fever. If you do have a fever then you probably don't have allergies.