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Today in Health & Wellness

What does your sneeze mean?

By: Marian Erica Rosimo, RPhWhat does your sneeze mean?

Achoo! There goes a sneeze again.

Sneezing is a minor symptom that may hint at a number of conditions like allergic rhinitis and the common cold. Allergic rhinitis is a type of inflammation in the nose as a result of an allergic reaction, while the common cold is an infection caused by viruses.

The two of them have similar symptoms like frequent sneezing, a stuffy nose, fatigue and weakness, and cough. How can we know if a sneeze is brought on by an allergy, or if a runny nose is caused by an infection? How can we figure out if it is allergic rhinitis or the common cold? What are the signs to look out for? What are the facts to look into?

  • They have different natures. For starters, an allergy is an overreaction of the body, while a cold is an infection. Pollen, dust, and similar substances are the classic triggers of allergies, while viruses are the major culprit for colds.
  • They have different timelines. After exposure to triggers, an allergy flares up right after, while a cold begins a few days later. Allergies last as long as there is contact with irritants, while colds persist for up to two weeks. Both may take place any time of the year but the usual season for allergies is summer. Colds, on the other hand, are very common on rainy days.
  • They have some different symptoms. Although they have a few resemblances, allergies and colds have their distinct features too. For allergies, a hallmark is itchy, watery, and swollen eyes. For colds, fever, sore throat, and pain are typical manifestations.

Luckily, a lot of medications are out there for both allergic rhinitis and the common cold with no need for a doctor’s prescription. They come as oral drops, oral solutions, tablets, and sprays. Here are some over-the-counter medicines that are available, just ask the pharmacist for advice:

  • Decongestants like chlorpheniramine and phenylephrine
  • Antihistamines like cetirizine, diphenhydramine, and loratadine
  • Mucolytics like ambroxol, and analgesics like paracetamol

Still, the best way of staying away from illnesses is having a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet and get your body active and kicking. Also, it is always smart and safe to keep in touch with a health professional.

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