Is it Allergies or a Cold?

cold vs. allergies

Are you thinking you may have allergies? Schedule an appointment with the Arizona Asthma and Allergy Institute at a location that’s convenient for you.




Too often when someone has the sniffles, others assume that they are contagious. However, those sniffles are often caused by something not contagious at all. For those suffering from congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing, a cold may be the first thought, but these are also signs of allergies. Learn the differences between allergies and a cold so you can find the right relief fast.

What is a cold?

Also known as “the common cold,” a cold is a virus. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are more than 100 different types of cold viruses. So while symptoms and severity may vary, colds generally share some of the same basic characteristics.

Below are the key features of this common illness:

Colds may be passed through the air from coughing and sneezing, as well as through touch.
Most common symptoms include cough, sore throat, and a runny, stuffy nose.
Sneezing and itchy eyes are less common symptoms.
More severe colds can cause fevers and body aches.
Recovery is usually quick — in fact, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) estimates that the average duration is 7 to 10 days.
If symptoms last more than a week or two, the cold may have progressed into an infection.
People with allergies are sometimes more prone to catching colds.
Despite its name, you can catch a “cold” any time of year. NIAID estimates that the average healthy adult catches two to three colds per year. Young children may get more colds because of their weaker immune systems.

What are allergies?

Allergies occur when your immune system has an adverse reaction to certain substances. Upon exposure to triggers, the immune system releases chemicals called histamines. While intended to fight off perceived intruders, the release of histamine is actually what causes allergy symptoms.

The following are the facts you need to know about allergies:

Some of the symptoms are similar to colds, such as sneezing, sore throat, coughing, runny nose, and congestion.
Sore throat in allergies is most often caused by postnasal drip.
Allergies can also cause rashes and itchy eyes.
Fevers and body aches are not signs of an allergy.
Seasonal allergies are most common, but you might also be allergic to certain substances year round. Allergy triggers may include:

  • pollen from trees, grasses, or weeds
  • dust mites
  • animal dander
  • mold
  • foods (such as tree nuts, milk, and eggs)

You can tell you might suffer from allergies instead of a cold by the duration of your symptoms — they won’t go away without treatment or removal from the original trigger.

Treating the common cold

Since they are viruses, colds themselves are not treatable. Still, there are medications that can help alleviate your symptoms while a cold runs its course. These include:

  • cough syrups (these are not recommended for children under the age of two)
  • decongestant sprays (only use for a few days — these are also not recommended for children)
  • pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil)
  • multi-symptom cold relief medicines (such as DayQuil)
  • Make sure you ask your doctor before taking any over-the-counter cold medications, especially if you take any prescription medications or if you have any underlying health conditions. No cold medications should be used for an extended period of time. Doing so can cause side effects, such as liver damage.

There are also home remedies you can try that are free of the risk of side effects. Some of the options include:

  • drinking a lot of water, juice, and herbal tea (avoid caffeine)
  • using saline nasal sprays
  • gargling with salt water
  • using a humidifier
    Antibiotics don’t work for colds, since they are viruses. If a cold progresses to a sinus infection, however, an antibiotic may be used.

Allergy treatments

Unlike a cold, treatments are available for allergies. Antihistamines (such as Allegra, Benadryl, and Zyrtec) tend to be the first line of allergy treatment. These work by blocking histamine reactions to allergens, thereby reducing symptoms. Be aware that some antihistamines can cause drowsiness — either look for a non-drowsy formula, or consider taking them at night only.

In more severe cases, an allergist might prescribe a decongestant to help alleviate sinus congestion from allergy symptoms. These work by breaking up the congestion and drying up the sinuses. The caveat is that these can actually cause congestion to worsen if taken over a long period of time. Decongestants are sold under the brand names Sudafed, Mucinex, and Claritin-D.

As with cold symptoms, saline sprays and humidifiers can help alleviate certain allergy symptoms.


While some of the symptoms of allergies and colds are similar, these are two very different health conditions. Knowing the difference can help you obtain the right treatment so you’ll be on your way to feeling better sooner rather than later. Any allergy or cold symptoms that don’t get better with treatment should be looked at by your doctor to rule out any possible infections. For instance, a sinus infection (sinusitis), can occur when bacteria causes the sinuses to become infected. This can be brought on by either a cold or allergies — both of which cause mucus to build up in the sinus cavities and create blockages.

Those suffering from sinus infections will likely be prescribed antibiotics to help fight the infection, as well as decongestants to reduce symptoms. You should also seek medical attention if you have colored phlegm or a high fever.



If you believe you may have allergies, schedule an allergy appointment with Arizona Asthma and Allergy Institute at a time and location that’s convenient for you.

*Original article can found at healthline*

Cooking and Baking Tips

Cooking and baking without common ingredients like milk, eggs and wheat may sound like a challenge. But fortunately, you can make simple substitutions and still achieve tasty results.

If you’re looking for ways to make delicious, allergy-friendly meals and treats, try some of these substitutes for common allergens.


Eggsegg replacement baking recipe

For each egg in a recipe, substitute one of the following combinations. These substitutes work well when baking from scratch and in recipes that call for 1 to 3 eggs.

  • 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 T. liquid, 1 T. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 T. water, 1 1/2 T. oil, 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 packet gelatin, 2 T. warm water. Do not mix until ready to use.


Milk is one of the easiest ingredients to substitute in baking and cooking. Just use equal amounts of water or fruit juice. (For example, substitute 1 cup milk with 1 cup water.)


Wheatwheat replacement

A combination of wheat-free flours usually works best for baking. Experiment with different blends to find one that will give you the texture you desire.

Try substituting 1 cup wheat flour with one of the following:

  • 7/8 cup rice flour
  • 5/8 cup potato starch flour
  • 1 cup soy flour, plus 1/4 cup potato starch flour
  • 1 cup corn flour

Original article can be found here.

Halloween & Food Allergies: Alternate Activities for Children

Halloween is a time full of costumes, fun and candy. The kids are eager to put on their favorite costume and rush out the door for trick or treating.

For parents with children food allergies, this time of year can be stressful. Don’t let this holiday catch you and your little ones with food allergies off guard. Here are some helpful tips to make this the happiest Halloween yet for your kids with food allergies.

Inform Your Neighborhoodfood allergy friendly halloween

The Food Allergy Research & Education has many wonderful resources to inform others about The Teal Pumpkin Project and let them know you are participating in providing non-food treats, like stickers or glow sticks. Check out resources by the F.A.R.E. that include fun activities for kids that don’t involve candy.


Be Prepared: Basic Precautions

Make sure your child has their EpiPen with them and check that the adult taking your child out for trick-or-treating knows how to administer the medication, if need be. It is also a smart idea to have your child carry hand wipes in case they accidentally touch unsafe candy.

Bring Safe Candy

Many children like to eat candy as they go trick-or-treating. Bring along a bag of safe candy for your child to munch on so they aren’t tempted to eat the candy they receive before you get a chance to look at the ingredients list.

Food Allergy Candy

Create New Traditions

Halloween doesn’t have to only consist of trick-or-treating; consider inviting friends over for a Halloween party! If you host, you can control exactly what food is available to your children. There are many fun things you can do that don’t involve just eating candy, like having a spooky movie night, bobbing for apples, face painting or creating your own haunted house.

nut free halloween


As always, follow your usual food safety rules and precautions this Halloween. Halloween is an opportunity to have fun, dress up and celebrate the spooky night! Consider your child’s food allergies an opportunity to make some new traditions this Halloween that don’t involve candy!

Fall Allergies In The Phoenix Valley

With the cooler Arizona temperatures comes an increase in pollen from all sorts of desert plants.

Know what to expect so you can be best prepared for fall.

With all of the rain that comes from the monsoon season comes the growth of grasses and weeds, which can contribute to these high pollen counts.  In fact, according to everyday HEALTH, “A single plant can produce one billion pollen grains per season.” This can be a miserable statistic for those that suffer from seasonal allergies.

Many plants like ragweed, bermuda grass and sagebrush grow well from September-November. All of these plants contain severe allergens and should be avoided to minimize allergic reactions. To see a complete list of significant allergens in Maricopa County visit Pollen Library.  

Here are some precautions you can take during the fall allergy season:

-Use a face mask outside on windy days

-Shower frequently to remove pollen from your skin and hair

-Keep your windows closed

-Dry your clothes in the dryer, instead of hanging them outside to dry


If you’re suffering from fall allergies, you don’t have to go at it alone. Make an allergy appointment at any of our office across the Phoenix Valley.

Allergies, Asthma and Back to School

The beginning of the school year is an exciting time for many, but it can also be a time of anxiety for children who have asthma or allergies.  Help your child walk confidently into school this year, knowing that they are prepared as possible.

1. Keep on top of medication before the school year starts.

Make sure that your child is on top of their necessary medication before the first week of school arrives. Making a routine of knowing what medication to take when can relieve anxiety surrounding taking medication at school.

2. Get a tour.

Contact the school to get a tour of your child’s classroom and the nurse’s office.  Going into school before the school year starts will calm your child’s nerves, by allowing them to know what to expect when they need to go to the nurse’s office for help or medication.

 3. Have a Signal.

It would also be a great idea to talk to your child’s teacher about a discrete signal that the two of them can use when your child needs to go get medication from the nurse. This way your child can get the help they need, when they need it, without drawing attention to themselves.

4. Know Their Limitations.

It’s important for all children, even those with exercise-induced asthma, to get regular exercise. Talk to your chid’s doctor about what types of physical activity are less likely to trigger asthma and allergy symptoms, and consider encouraging your child to participate in those activities. Make sure that your child uses their inhaler before they exercise and that they have plenty of water to keep hydrated!



If you or your child is in need of an appointment with one of our allergy or asthma specialists, contact us today for an allergy or asthma appointment!






Monsoon Season Allergies

The monsoon season is an eerily beautiful time of year that brings with it storms and sweet relief from the scorching summer heat. Unfortunately, with the monsoons also come monsoon season allergies, infection and issues with digestion for many.

Whipping winds with pollen, dirt and dust particles are the perfect recipe to aggravate your allergies. Not only this, but the rain and wet clothes can lead to the spread of infection during the monsoon season. An unanticipated effect of the monsoons are digestion issues.

Here are some tips to keep yourself as healthy as possible and keep control of your monsoon season allergies.

  1. Watch What You Eat.

    If you’re eating food from the garden or if you’re buying food from a food cart on the side of the road, dust and other particles are more likely to be in those foods. Be aware of this and counter it by making sure you’re rinsing food off food as much as possible before consuming it.

  2. Limit your exposure.

    Roll up the windows while you’re in the car, keep windows closed and make sure to shower every night before going to bed, to keep away and rinse off any allergens that may be aggravating your symptoms.

  3. Wash your hands.

    While dust storms do kick up a great deal of dust and allergens, washing hands before every meal can do a great deal for those with allergies from the dust storms.  Washing your hands will keep away many infections and rinse off allergens that may be on your hands and arms from being out in the dust storms.

Are you suffering from monsoon season allergies or asthma? Contact Arizona Asthma and Allergy Institute to schedule your allergy or asthma appointment today!