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Most people know if they have an allergy. However, it is not always apparent for everyone. Differentiating an allergy from a non-allergic condition is not always as straightforward as one might think. Knowing what distinguishes an allergy from what is not will help you resolve what is ailing you and can mean finding a cure and faster relief.
An allergic reaction occurs when the body mounts an immune response to something that is usually harmless to the body. Most allergy tests check for higher levels of an antibody known as immunoglobulin E, or IgE, in the blood. This antibody is released by the immune system in the body to fight the invading substance. Normally, your immune system is responsible for defending your body against foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses. When your body reacts to things that do not pose a threat to the body, the substances are known as allergens. Allergens are what triggers your body to cause an allergic reaction. Some of the common allergy symptoms include nasal congestion, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, hives, rash, stuff or runny nose, sore throat, and cough with postnasal drip. Severe allergy symptoms may consist of swelling of the throat and shortness of breath.
One of the most common conditions that may present similarly to an allergic reaction is the common cold. Symptoms of colds and allergies may be similar, but there are also key differences between the two. Itchy and watery eyes are often symptoms that are due to an allergy versus a cold. A sore throat and body aches can occur with allergies, but is more prevalent with a cold. Sometimes people with allergies develop eczema, but this is not a symptom of a cold. A fever is most often present with a cold, but not with an allergic reaction. Colds typically last around 7 to 10 days, whereas an allergic reaction may last several weeks, especially if the allergen remains around. A main way to differentiate between a cold and an allergy is by the symptom history. Allergy symptoms may appear during a certain season or come and go based on the environment you are in.
If you are wondering and unsure if your symptoms are due to an allergic reaction or a non-allergic condition, give our Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Medical Group team a call. We will be happy to discuss your symptoms and history to help determine if you are having an allergic reaction. Call 805-658-9500 to schedule an appointment with us today.