Knowing the Differences Between Flu-Like Symptoms and Allergies

by Trevor Price

Posted on Thursday 30th of October 2008

If you're in bed all day with flu-like symptoms, allergies could be the actual root cause. Often, people mistake simple allergy signs for more severe conditions like a cold or the flu.

To learn more about allergies and differentiating between an illness and a possible allergic reaction, keep reading.

All Allergies Aren't Created Equal

Just because someone is having an allergic reaction doesn't mean they'll automatically exhibit a runny nose and itchy eyes. In fact, many allergies are symptomatic as stomach pains, aches, a rash or other flu-like indicators. Allergies are simply a range of reactions to different antigens, and those reactions can vary depending on the individual and the allergy itself.

Some allergic reactions are disguised as a low-grade fever, aches, pains and chills - all signs associated with the flu.

Understanding the Difference

Typically, a flu won't be either too short or long in duration. If your aches, pains and flu-like symptoms seem to continue for several weeks or over the course of an allergen "season," it's a likely indicator that you're reacting to a particular pollen or airborne particle. When flu symptoms continue indefinitely without relenting, you may have a bigger problem - like mold in your living environment.

If you suspect that mold or asbestos may be causing your chronic flu-like signs, you should consult with your doctor and look into having your home thoroughly inspected.

Be Aware of the Seasons

When it's mid-February and you live in North Dakota, you're not likely to be suffering from allergies, unless you're experiencing a reaction to animals or other allergens. Typically though, pollen allergy season occurs during the warm months.

However, not all allergic reactions are caused by pollen. As mentioned earlier, some may be caused by mold in the living or working environment, some may be a result of airborne particles and pollution and others may even be caused by diet.

Get a Diagnosis

Talk to your doctor, particularly if your flu-like symptoms persist for a lengthy period of time. You may be advised to see an allergist to be tested for various allergies. Your physician might also prescribe various flu or allergy treatments to test how effective they are.

Another professional you may want to speak to is a naturopath - this individual will test you for a variety of food and environment-based allergens. He or she can also help you improve your diet as a way of boosting your immune system and improving your ability to help you fight off viruses like the flu.

Get a Flu Shot

If you're living with flu-like signs, allergies may be the root cause. But, you should still protect yourself against the flu. For future years, protect your body against the flu by arming it with an up-to-date flu vaccination.

A number of people avoid a flu shot over fears of either ineffectiveness or actually catching the flu from the vaccine. This, unfortunately, does happen in a small percentage of cases. However, all-in-all almost anyone will benefit.

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