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Allergy vs. cold symptoms

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Everybody knows that sinking feeling when you start getting sick. But how do you know if you're really falling ill or just suffering from allergies instead?

Dr. Robert Chrzanowski from The Allergy Center said there are three types of allergies - or as doctors call it, rhinitis, which means inflammation of the nose.

Allergic rhinitis can cause a runny nose, itchy eyes and nasal congestion and can last a long time.

Problems from a cold is viral rhinitis and in ten to 14 days, it's over.

Non-allergic rhinitis is a form of physical sensitivity to the environment, such as when the seasons change or a person gets on an airplane.

Dr. Chrzanowski said, "You know going in like an airplane going up and the pressure changes or going up to the mountains and come back down, you're going to have more congestion and drainage and more popping of the ears kind of thing."

Sinusitis is an inflammation as well, but happens because of an infection. It can be bacterial or viral.

Dr. Chrzanowski explained, "Most of the time it's viral, but when it's bacterial, you might have a fever with a cold and the cold didn't clear."

He claimed if symptoms last over two weeks, you may need an antibiotic, but a person can not treat a viral infection with an antibiotic.

He suggested rinsing your nose out with distilled saltwater and said, "The best way to do it is use those neti pots they have out there or the bottle systems where you put eight ounces of water into a pre-made settings package to make a buffer solution."

Over the counter medications, such as Zyrtec, Claritin and Allegra work wonders for mild allergies, but go for generic brands to save cash.

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