You know the drill: your child comes home from school sneezing, with a runny nose, feeling foggy, and congestion is preventing them (and you) from sleeping.
Could it really be another cold? Despite its name, you can catch a “cold” any time of year. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases (NIAID) estimates the average healthy adult catches two to three colds per year. Young children may get more colds because of their weaker immune systems.
Allergies occur when your immune system has an adverse reaction to certain substances or triggers. Seasonal allergies are most common but it is possible to be allergic to certain substances year round.
“Seasonal allergies and colds have several overlapping symptoms,” says Sue Karnitis, MD, pediatrician at Kettering Physician Network Pediatrics. “Runny, stuffy nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat and congestion are some shared symptoms of colds and seasonal allergies. In fact, people with allergies are sometimes more prone to catching colds.” There are some indicators that usually point to one or the other, which include:
Itchy eyes: usually caused by an allergen and not a cold virus, although some children rub their eyes when they aren’t feeling well.
Duration of symptoms: traditionally cold symptoms last seven to 10 days, while allergy symptoms last as long as the allergen is present, or until treated.
Temperature and body aches: hay fever can cause a spike in temperature, but traditionally allergies do not cause a fever or body aches. A cold, however, can result in these.
“If your child is not feeling well and experiencing atypical symptoms, it is always best to have them checked out by a medical professional,” says Dr. Karnitis.
Sue Karnitis MD is board certified in pediatrics practicing at the Kettering Physician Network Pediatrics located at Springboro Health Center. Dr. Karnitis has been serving the medical needs of children for more than 26 years and lives with her family in the Dayton area. To find about more about Cold and Flu, or to make an appointment with Dr. Karnitis, please call (937) 762-5000.