Nearly 1 in 5 Americans suffer from allergies and after this year’s unusually mild winter, the dreaded allergy season arrived extra early, resulting in bothersome coughs and colds in allergy sufferers across the country. Although a cough related to allergies may be relatively harmless, it can be very disruptive, causing sore throat, interrupted sleep and in some cases, trouble breathing. How do you know if you have allergies or if you are getting sick? And what are the proper precautions when you start to experience symptoms? We asked Pediatrician Zak Zarbock, MD, creator of Zarbee’s, the #1 all natural, safe and effective cough alternative, for his top tips for identifying and treating coughs due to seasonal allergies – and how to tell when it’s more than just hay fever.
Tips for identifying allergies and how to manage allergy symptoms
Know your symptoms
According to Dr. Zarbock, allergies can have similar symptoms to the colds and coughs caused by viral or bacterial infections. He explains: “Symptoms of allergies typically include clear runny or stuffy nose, red, itchy eyes, sore throat and cough from drainage behind the nose. Asthma may also be triggered by allergies, leading to a worsening cough, wheezing, and often breathing difficulty. Symptoms of an infection may also include runny nose, congestion and cough, but unlike allergies, may be associated with fever, green or yellow nasal drainage, and general achiness.”
Keep a symptom journal
Whether you mark it on the calendar or keep a journal, record symptoms you and your family experience so you can determine the cause. “Coughs that begin on or around the same time every year are often caused by allergies,” says Dr. Zarbock. “Seasonal allergy sufferers commonly react to pollen counts that are high from certain trees, grasses and weeds; however in many instances, allergies may be a year-round affair for those who react to insects, dust mites, animals or mold spores.”
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Though you can’t eliminate allergies, you can reduce exposure to your family’s allergy triggers. Dr. Zarbock recommends simple things like showering or washing the hair before bed to help rinse pollen from the skin and hair; keeping car and house windows closed during peak allergen seasons; wearing a dust filter mask when outdoors in high pollen conditions; vacuuming carpets and washing sheets and pillow cases on a regular basis; and frequently changing furnace and air conditioning filters.
Consider safe, natural, and effective remedies for symptoms
“Choose all natural remedies to treat coughs related to allergies,” Dr. Zarbock advises. “Keep airways moist and clear of mucus with natural saline sprays and rinses, use antioxidant-rich honeys, like those found in Zarbee’s Cough Syrup, as a proven remedy to calm coughs and soothe and coat sore throats.”