Suffering from the sniffles? Experts say common cold symptoms can be confused with allergies

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- If you've had a cold that you just can't seem to shake, it might not be what you think.

When you live in Wisconsin, spring can feel like a breath of fresh air following a cold, harsh winter. Blooming trees and plants provide a stunning visual display, but they can also be a major source of discomfort.

"A lot of times see patients who think they may just have recurrent colds but it actually turns out to be allergies," said Leslie Gimenez, Allergist at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and Froedtert Hospital.

And just because you haven't had seasonal allergies in the past, doesn't mean you don't now.

"It definitely can change over time, definitely adults who never really had any problems as kids as they, especially young adults, might start to develop some symptoms," said Dr. Gimenez.

Colds and allergies can have similar symptoms like runny nose or congestion. So if you're new at this, how might you know which you have?

"In allergies, they probably have other symptoms like sneezing, nasal itch, itchy eyes.

Spring is prime pollen season, an allergen behind many allergy-sufferer's symptoms.

Doctor Gimenez says if you're allergic to it, avoidance should be your first step.

"On those high pollen days staying indoors keeping the windows closed using air conditioning when you're indoors," said Dr. Gimenez.

That doesn't mean you can't go outside, but if you do:

"When you come back in take a shower, change your clothes so you're not carrying that pollen with your inside the home," said Dr. Gimenez.

If you think you might be suffering from allergies, and you'd like guidance on managing your symptoms -- have a chat with your physician.

"There's lots of medications that are effective, anti-histamines and nasal sprays but also allergy shots," said Dr. Gimenez.

If you want to track the pollen count so you can plan your activities, CLICK HERE.

1 Comment

  • Anna Menzel

    My husband was in this boat for a while. Everyone told him that he just got colds far more often than anyone else. Now that we know what is really happening we just have to take the necessary steps, and use the right medications, to help him out.

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