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Allergies & Colds

Allergies & Colds

Can you tell the difference between allergy and common cold symptoms in your child? A survey released by the American Lung Association (ALA), funded through an educational grant from Honeywell Consumer Products, reveals that 83 percent of parents in households with allergy sufferers claim to know the difference between symptoms of allergies and the common cold.

Many parents, however, could not tell the difference between three out of five allergy symptoms, including fever, sneezing and duration. When a child has an occasional, low-grade fever, he or she is probably suffering from a cold, not from allergies. Allergy sufferers rarely run a fever, but only 52 percent of the parents surveyed actually knew that. When it comes to sneezing, children that suffer from violent, prolonged spells rather than just as an occasional "ACHOO" are likely suffering from allergies, not a cold. Only 45 percent of the parents polled, however, know the difference in sneezing. Finally, slightly more than half of the parents polled realized that most colds last approximately seven to ten days - a much shorter duration than the weeks or months that allergies tend to linger.

It's important for parents to learn the difference between cold and allergy symptoms. And if you think your child has allergies, see your doctor for proper diagnosis. If your child does have allergies, improving indoor air quality and controlling the home environment are very important parts of allergy care.

The American Lung Association suggests three major strategies for reducing home indoor air pollution including:

  • Control the Source - Reduce or remove as many asthma or allergy triggers from your home as possible; pay attention to dust mites, controlling them especially in the bedroom; keep pets outside whenever possible.
  • Ventilate - Keep the windows open as often as possible to allow air to circulate. Or, when the temperature, pollution index or pollen count is high, use an air conditioner to allow the windows and doors to stay closed while air circulates.  
  • Clean the Air - This can be done several ways, such as by using a stand-alone HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) air cleaning system to help capture airborne particles and common household allergens, such as pollen, pet dander, tobacco smoke particles, dust and mold spores that pass through the air. Such air cleaners may help reduce allergies.

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