Is It Allergies Or A Cold?
Allergies and cold can have similar symptoms. But the two have very different causes. Because of this, the medications and supplements that a person should take vary. Here’s what to know about treating colds and seasonal allergies.
Which one is it?
Before knowing what supplements to take, a person must first determine whether a cold or allergies are to blame. The first step is understanding the symptom similarities and differences. While both can cause a runny nose, achy muscles and fever are only associated with the common cold. Sore throats and sneezing can be a symptom of both, but only allergies cause itchy, watery eyes.
What to take for the common cold
The common cold is a viral infection, which means there is no pill to take that will cure a cold. Instead, treatment usually involves rest, over-the-counter medicines, and natural remedies. Supplements like vitamin C, zinc, and echinacea are common natural options for treating a cold.
What’s the evidence?
Vitamin C doesn’t have a strong link to cold prevention, but taking vitamin C can reduce the duration of a cold. The same goes for zinc. Studies have shown that a zinc supplement can shorten the length of a cold by 2-3 days. And echinacea has mixed results. Some research has found no additional benefits of echinacea, while others say taking this supplement can reduce the cold duration by 10-30%.
Treatment for seasonal allergies
Many people take over-the-counter allergy medications during allergy season. But these medications can come with unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness. The good news is that some supplements can help decrease inflammation and reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
Supplements to try
Most people have heard of taking essential oils, and many view this option as a placebo treatment. But some studies show a link between some essential oils and allergy relief. For example, research has found that peppermint oil can be beneficial for unclogging sinuses and decreasing throat symptoms associated with allergies. Eucalyptus can also help open up the sinuses and improve airflow, a common concern for people dealing with allergies. Studies have also shown that consuming honey can improve allergy symptoms and reduce a person’s dependency on antihistamines.
Speak with a healthcare provider
Most of the time, people can find effective over-the-counter options for relieving the common symptoms of allergies or colds. For more information and recommendations, speak with a pharmacist or healthcare provider.