Every year millions of Americans suffer from seasonal allergy. However, a certain percentage of those who suffer from seasonal allergies dismiss it as chronic cold. To better understand this, we need to define and differentiate it from the common cold.  

Unlike colds that occur during winter or usually when there is a sudden change in temperature, allergies are caused by allergens. This causes an allergic reaction on the bodily function of a human sensitive to that particular allergen which is not experienced by the average individual.        

Allergic rhinitis can be classified as perennial and seasonal.   Perennial allergies happen any time of the year as long as the individual is exposed to the allergen such as house dust mites and pet dander.   Seasonal allergies on the other hand happen at the same time every year or during particular seasons, hence the term. These are caused by pollens of flowering plants which are transported thru the air during the process of pollination.  

When a person has colds, he starts to sneeze then later begins to have runny and congested nose. Sneezing is less common after the initial phase. If one has allergies, symptoms happen at the same time. Sneezing is more frequent coupled with runny nose and watery eyes. Itching of the nose and eyes are particularly bothersome in allergies. In several cases though, this develops into allergic rhinitis and asthma. And unlike colds that usually last from 7 to 10 days, allergies continue until the person is no longer exposed to the allergen.  

Ragweed allergy, also known as fall allergy or hay fever, is the most common seasonal allergy. This occurs from mid August until October. About 75% of allergic individuals develop become allergic to ragweed pollen.   Ragweed thrives in vacant lots and roadsides. Studies also mentioned that that most of those allergic to ragweed also develop allergic reactions to other pollens. Thus it is not surprising that they develop allergic symptoms during spring and summer when pollen grains from flowering trees and grasses are present in the air.    

The nasal discharge of people who have colds is usually yellowish which means that it is caused by an infection. Sometimes colds are also accompanied by fever. Those who suffer from seasonal allergies do not usually have fever, and since it is not caused by any viral or bacterial infection, the nasal discharge is clear and watery.  

Whether the sickness is caused by a cold or is a sesonal allergy, it still takes a toll on one’s health. In both cases there is a loss in appetite and sleeping problems also occur that disrupts how a person conducts his normal activities. Prevention is still the cure. Proper information too helps in the diagnosis of the ailment so that the appropriate medication can be taken.

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