BEST START: Telling the Difference Between Allergies & a Cold

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Spring has sprung.

Dr. Susan Averitt, from Best Start Pediatric Clinic in Springdale says lately she’s been seeing a lot of parents having trouble telling the difference between a cold and allergies.

"A lot of kids aren't born with allergies. After the child is two years old we begin to see seasonal allergies. The symptoms are very close to what you see with the common cold. Parents aren't sure if the child has allergies or an upper respiratory infection. Some of of the difference are when it's allergies the symptoms get worse when they go outside and then better when they come back inside. Where as colds progress over the first few days and then go away. The other thing we see with allergies we see is they seem to respond to certain kinds of medication that are triggered to help allergies and colds may not respond in the same way," Dr. Averitt said.

She said the first thing pediatricians do when they treat allergies is to treat the symptoms of a runny nose, itchy eyes and a stopped up nose.

"There are some medications we can use to treat some of those symptoms. Sometimes people being for allergies are being treated with an antihistamine which helps with that drippy nose and itchy feeling. There are also some nasal sprays that are very helpful. They decrease that swelling and inflammation in the nose so that the kid can feel like they're breathing through their nose. Most people with allergies do NOT need to take allergy shots. We can treat their symptoms. If you know what you're allergic to and you can avoid it, that can really help out. It's only when someone has severe symptoms that are interfering with their day to day activities and quality of life is when we send them to an allergy specialist," she said.

Susan Averitt, M.D.
Board-Certified Pediatrician
5501 Willow Creek Drive, Suite 104
Springdale, Arkansas 72762
Phone (479) 575-9359
Fax (479) 575-9415