Maybe it’s a viral disease, maybe it’s allergies

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Editorial, Argus Staff

 

The fall season is always a difficult one – not just because we’re swamped in midterms and the frigid winter is steadily approaching, but because of our allergies.

Most of us don’t know that we suffer from seasonal allergies because we have never been tested for them and the symptoms are often mild enough that they are manageable. We also mistake our immune system’s attacking of foreign intruders as a sign of another form of illness.

Have you been feeling sluggish the last couple weeks? Keep getting pounding headaches right at the front of your forehead between your eyebrows? Are you waking up with a phlegmy cough and a stuffy nose?

You may think you’ve caught a cold or flu virus, but you might actually have allergies.

‘Tis the season of allergens: pollen, dust, mold – you name it, the outdoors has got it.

While the cold and flu season is right around the corner, and many of those viruses are taking hold of the campus as we speak, it is important not to mistake your allergies for another type of illness so that you can be on the road to health that much sooner.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 30 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children suffer from seasonal allergies, meaning there’s a good chance your affliction is not an incurable virus, and you can be on the road to feeling better sooner than you thought.

If you’re coughing, sneezing and feel generally lethargic as well as feeling pressure in the sinuses or chest, chances are you are experiencing mild to moderate allergies. But, if your coughing and sneezing is accompanied with a fever, chills or body aches and swollen lymphnodes, you’ve more likely contracted a cold or flu virus.

Neither a cold or flu is curable once contracted – you just have to wait for the illness to go away. Dropping by the drugstore and buying some NyQuil will help soften the aches and pains of seasonal sickness, but there is nothing that can be done besides waiting it out and self-medicating.

Because of this, a trip to the doctor is often not necessary, and the problem goes undiagnosed, assumed to be just another bug that will go away.

If you’re experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms for more than two weeks, try switching medications from your cold and flu relief to an allergy medication such as Allegra, Zyrtec or Claritin, which are all available over the counter at Walgreens. You may start to notice a difference in your health.

Seasonal allergies can lead to extreme congestion, which can cause sinus and ear infections if left untreated – all preventable with an inexpensive allergy medication.

Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Seasonal allergies, though not life-threatening, can put a serious damper on your health and make life at school even more difficult in the midst of homework, tests and registration for the next semester.

Instead of waiting for your symptoms to go away, recognize the difference between a common cold or flu virus and seasonal allergies and properly medicate yourself.