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A skin test can be used to determine your allergy triggers. Sometimes primary doctors or allergy specialists may also use blood tests to diagnose allergies depending on your age and other health conditions. Your body will get rid of the cold virus over time. Still, there are medications that can help relieve your symptoms while a cold runs its course. Ask your doctor before taking any OTC cold medication, especially if you also take prescription medications, have any existing health conditions, or are pregnant.

Using them for extended periods can cause side effects such as rebound congestion. One very effective way to prevent allergy symptoms is to avoid your triggers. Be aware that some older antihistamines can cause drowsiness. Either look for a nondrowsy formula or consider taking these medicines at night. Decongestants work by shrinking swollen nasal membranes to relieve sinus congestion.

Decongestants come in pills and nasal sprays. However, nasal decongestants such as oxymetazoline Afrin can make your congestion worse if you use them for more than three days in a row. Nasal corticosteroids bring down swelling in the nose by blocking inflammation. They also lower the number of allergy-activated immune cells in the nasal passages. These medications continue to be one of the best ways of controlling and treating both seasonal and year-round allergies.

So...can allergies cause coughing? Give it to me straight.

Eye drops can relieve itchiness and watering. Allergy shots gradually expose you to small amounts of the allergen. This exposure helps to desensitize your body to the substance. These can be a very effective long-term solution for eliminating allergies. While some allergy and cold symptoms are similar, these are two very different health conditions. Both colds and allergies can cause viruses and bacteria to collect in the sinuses and lower airways, which can lead to more serious infections. The common cold and the flu may seem very similar at first.

Here's what you need to know to correctly identify a cold and get the treatment you need. An allergy is an immune system response to a foreign substance that's not typically harmful to your body. These foreign substances are called…. Although it's a common issue, having itchy eyes is rarely ever a serious health concern. Itchy eyes can be caused by such conditions as allergies, dry…. Does cold weather really make you sick?

Learn why cold weather gets a bad rap and what culprits you should really be wary of. Feeding your body certain foods, such as citrus fruits, turmeric, and ginger, may help keep your immune system strong. Add the following fifteen…. There isn't any evidence that smoking weed while you have a cough, cold, or the flu is inherently unsafe. But if your throat is already irritated….

Trying to beat a cold or the flu? Oregano oil might help. Learn what the research says and how to use it safely. The flu and the common cold may seem very similar at first. Here's what you need to know to correctly identify the flu and get the treatment you need. Here's an update on some common alternative remedies:.

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Study results on whether echinacea prevents or shortens colds are mixed. Some studies show no benefit.

Cold, Flu, or Allergy? | NIH News in Health

Others show some reduction in the severity and duration of cold symptoms when taken in the early stages of a cold. Different types of echinacea used in different studies may have contributed to the differing results. Echinacea seems to be most effective if you take it when you notice cold symptoms and continue it for seven to 10 days.

It appears to be safe for healthy adults, but it can interact with many drugs. Check with your doctor before taking echinacea or any other supplement.


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There's been a lot of talk about taking zinc for colds ever since a study showed that zinc supplements kept people from getting as sick. Since then, research has turned up mixed results about zinc and colds.

Allergic rhinitis: Your nose knows

Some studies show that zinc lozenges or syrup reduce the length of a cold by one day, especially when taken within 24 hours of the first signs and symptoms of a cold. Zinc also has potentially harmful side effects. Talk to your doctor before considering the use of zinc to prevent or reduce the length of colds.

Although usually minor, colds can make you feel miserable. It's tempting to try the latest remedy, but the best thing you can do is take care of yourself. Rest, drink fluids and keep the air around you moist. Remember to wash your hands frequently. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. Any use of this site constitutes your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy linked below. Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization and proceeds from Web advertising help support our mission.

Mayo Clinic does not endorse any of the third party products and services advertised. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. Make an appointment. Visit now. Explore now. Choose a degree. Get updates. Give today. Cold remedies: What works, what doesn't, what can't hurt. Products and services. Free E-newsletter Subscribe to Housecall Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics.

Sign up now. Cold remedies: What works, what doesn't, what can't hurt There's no cure for the common cold. By Mayo Clinic Staff. References Common cold and runny nose.


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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed Feb. Symptom relief. Pappas DE, et al. The common cold in children: Management and prevention. Sexton DJ, et al. The common cold in adults: Treatment and prevention. Upper respiratory tract infection: Adult and pediatric.

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