This is the time of the year when sniffles and sneezes start, and many of us wonder if we have allergies, a cold, or a virus. Often the symptoms of allergies, a cold, and viruses are similar. It can be difficult to determine what might be the cause when we don’t feel well. As more Kansans receive home health care, it’s important to know the difference between allergies, a cold, or a virus, including Covid-19.
Springtime in Kansas means the tree pollens, grasses, and weeds will start to bloom and that can wreak havoc on our immune systems. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, Wichita is the top spot for seasonal allergies in the nation.
Seasonal allergies including hay fever are caused when pollen gets into the nose and throat and trigger allergic reactions in your immune system. Symptoms can include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, cough, post-nasal drip, sore throat, and itchy, red, and watery eyes. You can determine whether you’re dealing with allergies if symptoms occur when allergens are present and decrease when those allergens aren’t around. Also, if symptoms are relieved when taking an antihistamine, allergies are the likely cause. An allergy-related cough is typically a dry cough, that may last three weeks while allergens are in peak season.
A cold can last longer, up to two weeks, and can have the same symptoms as allergies including stuffy or runny nose, and a sore throat and cough. However, colds often produce wet, phlegmy coughs, which is different than the cough caused by post-nasal drip from allergies. Colds can also cause fevers, and chills. Allergies may make you feel run down, but you won’t have fevers or chills. Body aches are also common symptoms of a cold.
Itchy throats, cough, and even conjunctivitis in the eyes can be symptoms of viruses including Covid-19. While these symptoms overlap with allergies or a common cold, other symptoms can indicate that a virus, including the Covid virus, is the culprit. Headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing are common symptoms of Covid.
Additionally, diarrhea, fever, muscle aches, nausea or vomiting, and losing the sense of taste or smell are also common to Covid. If you’re showing allergy-like symptoms, but want to rule out Covid infection, you can take a simple at-home test. You can have free tests mailed to you for testing through Project Access Covid Tests (ACT).
If you’re receiving home health care after surgery or illness, it’s important to make sure you reduce your risk of becoming sick with Covid or other viruses. You can reduce your risk by continuing to wear a mask if you go out in public or are in large crowds and wash your hands frequently. You can also reduce the risk of serious Covid illness by receiving Covid vaccinations and boosters.
All Saints Home Care can help you if you’re recovering at home from an illness or surgery, or need assistance as you or a loved one ages in place. Contact us at either our Wichita or Hutchinson offices to learn more about our services.
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