Is it a spring cold or an allergy?

Don't worry, you're not the only one asking this question lately.

Fred Bodimer
April 29, 2019 - 3:23 am

(KMOX) — Coughing and sneezing a lot lately?  Is it a cold or an allergy? 
That's a question that's being asked a lot at local doctors offices these days. 
Primary care physician Dr. Jared Henrichs with the SSM Health Medical Group says both bad allergies and nasty colds are prevalent right now across the area.  So how can you tell the difference between the two?

"Usually allergies have more kind of watery, itchy eyes, sneezing, watery runny nose," Dr. Henrichs tells KMOX.  "Occasionally it can be associated with a cough but it's definitely been a bad year for allergies and we've been seeing a lot of people come in with that.   You shouldn't have a fever if you have an allergy and the secretions are usually clear, it's not cloudy or green or anything like that."
Henrichs says there's a lot of things that can help deal with the symptoms of a cold.

"By and far most colds are caused by viruses, so most of it is symptomatic care," said Dr. Henrichs.  "Now that's not to be discounted, when you're having symptoms or not feeling well, the medicines can definitely help.  There are a lot of good over-the-counter medications that can help with decreasing your cough, helping with some of the swelling and helping things get better more quickly."
One thing he's been recommending more and more to his patients for colds is zinc supplementation.

"Zinc has been shown more than Vitamin C to actually help decrease the length of a cold and also decrease the severity of symptoms," said Dr. Henrichs.  "Zinc comes in a lot of different forms now.  There's tablets, there's cough drops, and starting zinc supplementation when you are first showing symptoms can sometimes shorten that course."
SSM Health's Dr. Jared Henrichs says there's also a lot of over-the-counter medications that can help treat allergies too.  Contact your doctor or pharmacist for some suggestions.​

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