As the weather gradually begins to transform to Spring, the Medical Officer of Health for Southern Health says many may be experiencing the yearly struggle of seasonal allergies.
Typical seasonal allergies, or hay fever, is an immune-inflammatory response from a release of chemicals known as histamines, caused by exposure to compounds in the air, like pollen or other plant materials.
The release of histamines is what create allergic reactions explains Dr. Michael Routledge, and to identify if it's allergies or a cold you need to look at the symptoms carefully.
"It depends on the symptoms; if you have predominantly sneezing, runny nose, no fever, and watery eyes, that's more likely to be an allergy. It can be a cold, so then the distinction would be if it's something that lasts for a couple of days and you don't see it again for the rest of the year, it's more likely to be a virus."
Routledge adds the similarities between the two depends on the kind of cold, allergies or even person.
Seasonal allergies generally aren't severe says Routledge, and don't impose any immediate health concerns; potentially life-threatening allergies are known as anaphylaxis reactions, brought on by more specific events such as the ingestion of food or liquids, or an insect sting.
Seasonal allergies do cause individuals challenges in their day to day lives explains Routledge, and there are ways to treat symptoms.
"As best as you can, try to identify what the allergen is, something indoor versus outdoor. In terms of treating it, a lot of people will take an antihistamine medication that you hear about over the counter. Other things people can do is they can get a steroid nasal spray, that in the long-term decreases inflammation and allergy symptoms in your nose and throat."
If a person is suffering from a more severe reaction, Routledge recommends speaking to your doctor or seeing an allergist, so testing can be done to see what precisely is causing the reaction.