Childhood illnesses can cause debilitating anxiety to even the most experienced of parents. During wintertime, children get a lot more colds since their immune systems are still immature. However, what worries parents most is that sometimes other conditions may be hiding behind symptoms very similar to the ones that come with the common cold. Allergies, such as (allergic rhinitis), bronchitis, and sinusitis (both are sometimes allergic in nature), can mask themselves as a very persistent cold. Here’s what you need to know to tell them apart.
Cold vs Allergies: Timing is Everything
Respiratory allergies, such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), often look a lot like a cold. Begin by checking your kid’s temperature: if they have a fever, it’s not an allergy. Hay fever also comes with considerable itchiness of the eyes, nose, and roof of the mouth.
the most telling sign of an allergy is its duration and the timing of the symptoms.
Most people recover from a cold after 10-15 days at the most, and their
symptoms improve during that time. If your child’s symptoms persist after two
weeks, look into it. You should also investigate further: do other kids at
school have similar symptoms? Most likely, it’s a viral cold. Do the symptoms
get worse at specific times of the day? After spending time outdoors doing
sports? The culprit is probably an allergy.
Cold vs Sinusitis: Watch out for
Persistent Fever and Pain
often cause sinus symptoms, but bacterial infections and viruses can complicate
things. The main difference between the common cold and a sinus infection is
again how long they typically last. Unlike a simple cold, sinusitis can last
for four weeks up to over three months while it is often recurring or becomes
conditions present with similar symptoms: a stuffed, runny nose (often with
yellow-green discharge), sneezing, cough, and low fever. Beware of a slight
fever that continues after 10-14 days, pain in the face, headache, swelling
around the eyes, and bad breath. These are indications that your child could
have a sinus infection, and you should see a pediatrician for a diagnosis and
Cold vs Bronchitis: Cough that Doesn’t Go
sometimes come with a lot of coughing, which is very annoying but eventually
goes away. However, if your kid’s cough is unrelenting and worrisome, you could
be dealing with a case of bronchitis, commonly known as a chest cold. Acute
bronchitis occurs when the large breathing tubes in the lungs (bronchi) become
inflamed. Children with chronic sinusitis, allergies, or asthma are more at
risk of developing this condition.
chest cold comes with cough (with or without mucus), chest congestion or pain,
gagging or even vomiting, wheezing, a sore throat, slight fever, and chills.
Most symptoms last for about 7-14 days, but the cough may continue for 3-4
weeks. If your kid has any of these symptoms, see your healthcare provider for
Since young children can’t understand or
describe their symptoms in detail, try to be very observant and record every
symptom, its intensity, and duration. This information can be very valuable to
your pediatrician when they make their diagnosis. If the symptoms indicate an allergy,
your doctor may refer you to a specialist so that you can get your child tested
for specific allergens.
If your child or you are suffering from
symptoms that may resemble allergies or sinusitis, please schedule an
appointment for allergy testing. Our allergy and asthma
specialists have helped thousands of patients in Arizona with allergies
and asthma. Your child deserves to live a life that is free of allergy problems
interfering with school and playtime
No one can imagine a beautifully decorated home without a few well-kept houseplants. Not to mention that taking care of a plant has a multitude of benefits for both the body and the soul. But, what if nature’s little wonders seem to wreak havoc to your immune system? If you are an allergy sufferer, you may think that all plants are potentially harmful to you. In truth, some indoor plants are more likely to cause allergies than others.
Here are a few examples of plants you should avoid having in your home or workspace.
Those mini trees look really amazing though certain types of bonsai (juniper, cedar) could cause a lot of trouble to people allergic to birch. They also need careful pruning and shaping, which means that you should always wear gloves when caring for them to avoid skin irritation.
2. Weeping Fig
This species is beautiful and easy to care for, but also one of the most common indoor sources of allergens after dust mites and pets. Particles from the leaves, trunk, and sap of the plant can cause a reaction similar to latex allergy. All in all, it’s best to avoid this plant altogether.
3. Male Palms and Yuccas
Male palms tend to produce a lot of pollen, which can spread very easily into your home. Still, if you have set your heart on an indoor palm, make sure you get a tree that only produces female flowers. Yuccas, while quite popular for both outdoors and indoors, present a similar risk to palm trees.
If your allergy or asthma symptoms seem to get worse indoors, the spores released from your fern could be responsible. This is another allergenic plant that can also cause a rash that resembles poison ivy skin irritation.
5. African Violet
Those deep purple blossoms are hard to resist. Nevertheless, they come with fuzzy leaves that gather a lot of dust. A simple solution would be to regularly wipe the leaves down with a damp cloth. However, if you are very sensitive to dust, choose another flower for your home.
While the colorful fall blossoms are typically found outdoors, you may be tempted to add them to a vase and brighten up your favorite room. Before you do that keep in mind that this flower is related to ragweed, a common plant responsible for many seasonal allergies.
So, are there any hypoallergenic houseplants?
Living with hay fever or asthma doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little bit of gardening. On the contrary, some plants can help you clean the air in your home and reduce your exposure to allergens. Some hypoallergenic plants are marginata, peace lily, dracaena, mother-in-law’s tongue, golden pothos, philodendron, and others.
Remember to always choose your houseplants carefully and add them to your living space one at a time to monitor possible allergic reactions. Moreover, don’t neglect to wear gloves when caring for your plants and spray their leaves with water regularly.
people, a home humidifier, or dehumidifier, is something they pull out only
when the air is dry, and are not taking advantage of all the benefits these
small appliances can do for us! Why don’t more people use them?
It is because many people are not entirely familiar with the purpose these little, but powerful appliances can serve for the sinus, cold and allergy sufferer
Nor do they understand the real difference between the two.
contraption adds moisture to the air in a room or space. They can be purchased
in a range of brands and sizes. Small ones may treat a room and larger systems
can treat an entire house, depending on the need. A humidifier is great for colds,
congestion, and even allergies.
Increasing the moisture in the air helps ease these symptoms and balance out
dryer conditions that may exacerbate the problem.
dehumidifier lowers the moisture level in a given area. Like their counterparts,
they come in many different sizes and price points. A dehumidifier can help
control energy costs, cut down on odors, and help reduce Phoenix area allergens such as mildew. If ventilation is an issue in a room or space
such as a basement, a dehumidifier just may be the answer.
should I use them?
There is an optimal humidity level for comfortable, healthy living. The climate outside and ventilation in a living space can negatively affect these humidity levels. If a family member is experiencing health issues or the ventilation in an area is not ideal, it may be time to consider a humidifier or dehumidifier.
climate and the living space will determine which machine will benefit you and
your family. Just remember that these machines should be kept clean in order to
experience the best results.
We suggest that you talk to your doctor the next time you or your child
experiences cold or allergy symptoms so a specialist can tell you the optimal
levels so you and your family feel better!
If you’re suffering from allergies, we can help. Our allergy doctors have helped thousands of patients in Arizona breathe a little easier. You deserve to live a life that is free of allergies! Contact us today at 602-242-4592, or book an appointment online to schedule an appointment at one of our 5 valley-wide locations.
While many people move to a desert area to find relief from their allergies, a desert environment might actually trigger allergies. In fact, at least a third of those who live in the Phoenix area experience some level of what is commonly known as “hay fever.” Hay fever means your body is reacting to pollens or mold of some type, and these reactions can take the form of sneezing, watery eyes and nose, congestion or itchiness.
Ragweed is one of the most common allergy-inducing plants across the United States and Phoenix has over a dozen native species of ragweed.
Ragweed is a perennial weed (in other words- it will affect allergy sufferers who have problems with it YEAR-ROUND)! Contact with the ragweed pollen can lead to coughing, wheezing, swollen eyelids, itchy eyes, itchy throat and ears, sneezing, hives and other rashes.
Other trees in the state of Arizona which could potentially lead to Hay fever include:
Russian Thistle is a tumbleweed which many people are sensitive to, causing skin rashes and other allergic reactions following exposure
African Sumac is a tree which can cause unrelenting sneezing among many people in the area.
Feather Palm and Desert Fan Palm—like many palm trees, both the feather palm and the desert fan palm shed an immense amount of pollen which can lead to serious allergy symptoms.
Cottonwood tree allergies are not as common as you might think with all the cottony fluff which falls from the trees each year, however those who are allergic to cottonwoods are typically very allergic—and may also be allergic to willows as well.
Desert Broom grows in disturbed soil; the cotton-like seed plumes fly away in the wind, causing allergies among many.
Arizona Sycamore is a tree which is typically considered a moderate allergen, although some people will react more strongly to the sycamore pollens.
Chinese Elm allergies are caused by the pollen which is carried by the wind in the fall months. Chinese elm pollen is considered a moderate allergen.
Arizona Ash will typically cause allergic reactions among those who are also sensitive to Olive tree pollen.
Arizona Sycamore trees flower between March and June, and are often seen in Arizona parks and streets. Similar to the California Sycamore, the Arizona Sycamore causes allergic reactions among some residents.
Hackberry can cause allergic reactions among those who are close in proximity and who have continued exposure. While Hackberry is in the same family as elm (very allergenic), it does not cause the extreme level of allergies among most people.
Juniper trees are a common source of allergies due to the pollen they create and those with Juniper allergies are also likely to be allergic to Cedar and Cypress tree pollen.
Mesquite is a serious offender in the southwest, producing considerable levels of airborne pollen. Those with Mesquite allergies may suffer from nasal inflammation, nasal congestion, sneezing, scratchy throats, contact dermatitis and even asthma.
Bermuda grass, while well-suited to the Arizona desert, is a more significant allergen than most other grasses, causing itchy eyes, runny noses and sneezing.
For those with allergies, desert dust is never good news, as it has an effect on respiratory systems, causing coughing, wheezing and watery, itchy eyes. Air pollution can also be a problem, particularly for those who live in the Phoenix metro area, which sits in a valley, allowing the pollutants to just hang around.
The Epipen shortage continues to have many allergy sufferers in a panic, including parents who need to provide emergency allergy supplies to their school children. But the Epipen is not the only medicine capable of preventing anaphylactic shock (see our page here for info on what life-threatening anaphylaxis is).
AUVI-Q is one alternative to Epipen
Walgreens has responded to the Epipen shortage by stocking up on this alternative. They’re stepping up in more ways than one. According to a recent press release, Walgreens will be providing this vital medication free of charge to anyone who has an eligible insurance plan. This even applies to high-deductible plans which historically do not cover very much. This does not include any AHCCCS plans. Those who don’t have insurance may receive assistance obtaining AUVI-Q at an affordable cost by taking advantage of kaléo’s patient assistant program. The kaléo company manufactures AUVI-Q.
AUVI-Q is pretty similar to an Epipen. It’s smaller, which makes it easier to carry. If you need to administer a dose you place it against your thigh and hold it in place for 5 seconds. It has a fully retractable needle, a safety measure intended to keep a needle from getting embedded in the leg. In this regard, it may be an even safer alternative for kids than the Epipen.
AUVI-Q has another innovation: verbal instructions. As soon as you remove the plastic case on the outside in preparation to use the device you’ll hear the instructions playing. This can be nice if you’re trying to administer the injection to yourself. You won’t have to worry that you’ve forgotten something while you’re busy struggling to breathe.
The medication inside the AUVI-Q device is the same as the Epipen: epinephrine. The only real difference is in the delivery method. But the delivery method is enough to mean pharmacists can’t just swap out the two devices. You will need to stop by our office to get a prescription for AUVI-Q if you want to take advantage of this generous offer.
Dr. Habib’s and Dr Alasaly’s thoughts:
There are very few instances where we wouldn’t approve such a change. If you’re struggling to obtain life-saving epinephrine please give our offices a call to make the switch today. But before we ever truly endorse or recommend a medicine for you or your child, you should meet with us in person in order to screen you to make sure you don’t have any of the medical conditions or drug interactions which might make AUVI-Q an unsafe alternative