Is it a Cold or Spring Allergies?
It's starting to feel more like spring, which means the trees are beginning to bloom, everything is turning green and a lot of Garden State residents are sneezing and feeling run down. But how do you know if you've spring allergies or a spring cold?
According to Rutgers University Professor Dr. Leonard Bielory, the director of the Asthma and Allergy Research Center, this may be a bit tricky.
"Spring allergies are associated with sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, without a fever or muscle aches and pains, whereas an infection from a virus is the same items except you get muscle aches and pains and a fever, and the viruses normally dissipate within three to five days whereas the allergies persist for three to five weeks," Bielory said.
He said allergies that lead to a sinus infection may cause you to develop a fever, but only after several days.
Bielory also said an allergic reaction to tree pollen or mold can cause the eyes to become very itchy.
"If you're only having eye symptoms with sneezing fits, it is more likely that you're dealing with allergies, because those are the two target organs for pollen to impact," he said.
According to Bielory, your eyes are more sensitive than your nose to pollen. In fact, your eyes will respond to parts per billion of pollen, and tree pollen is rapidly starting to get worse.
"Over the past week and a half, the pollen counts have gone from single digits to double digits and three days ago, we're hitting 200, yesterday 300, today 400 grains of pollen per cubic meter," he said. "The trees that are out right now are maple, elm, cedar, but in the coming weeks oak and birch pollen levels will rise dramatically and that will cause a lot of suffering."
He added if you want to get updated pollen information "you can go to nynjpollen.com, that gives you the real pollen count."