As winter approaches, so does flu season. It seems like everyone has the sniffles this time of year. However, do you know how to tell what has you feeling sick? The common cold, flu, and seasonal allergies all have similar symptoms, but different causes. Here are some ways to tell what is making you sick.
How to Tell the Difference
Flu and cold symptoms typically appear and clear over the course of a few days. If you develop your symptoms fairly quickly, it’s likely that you have caught a cold or the flu. On the other hand, allergies will continue to bother you for as long as you are exposed to the allergen. If your symptoms have been bothering you for a while, it’s more likely that allergies are the source.
Flu and cold viruses have to run their course, but allergy symptoms like postnasal drip and swollen, watery and/or itchy eyes can be improved with proper treatment. If taking allergy meds or even changing your environment helps relieve your symptoms, it’s probably allergies.
If you have a fever, you more than likely have the flu or a cold. Allergies usually don’t raise your body temperature.
How to Avoid the Cold or Flu
If you aren’t sick now, you probably want to avoid getting sick this flu season. Here are some ways to avoid the germs that will make you sick.
Wash Your Hands
This is the biggest tip you can use to avoid getting sick. Washing your hands can wash away germs that you picked up out in public. Be sure to wash your hands before you eat or prepare food.
Get a Flu Shot
Flu shots are designed to protect you from this year’s variation of the flu, so it’s important to get a new flu shot every year.
Making sure that you’re getting plenty of fruits and veggies will help keep your immune system in tip-top shape, which will help you fight off any germs.
How to Reduce Allergy Symptoms
If you have allergies, there isn’t much that you can do to “cure” your allergies. However, there are things that you can do to reduce your exposure to your allergens, which can help you feel better.
Keep Your Windows and Doors Shut
Many seasonal allergies are to outdoor allergens, such as ragweed, pollen, etc. These can get carried in the breeze and blown into your home through open doors and windows.
Clean Your Carpets
Even if you always keep your windows shut, allergens are brought in on your shoes, clothes, and more. These allergens tend to settle in your carpets, where they will get kicked up with every step and trigger your allergies. A good professional carpet cleaner will remove allergens from your carpets so you can breathe easier.
Change Your Air Filter
You want to make sure that you aren’t circulating allergens through your air, and the best way to do that is to change your air filters. They should be changed regularly anyway!
Hopefully you don’t get sick this winter, but if you do, you have the knowledge to tell what is making you feel gross and how to prevent it in the future.