Sniffing, sneezing and sore throat? Chest discomfort? Wondering what it is? Is it flu or some allergic reaction or something else? Well it’s time to get our doubts cleared!
Right now, summer is giving way to monsoon in many parts of the country. We are prone to falling sick as seasons change. Many of us get worried and confused. It is time to educate ourselves so that we can take proper precautions. A few years ago, I was falling sick with every seasonal change. My symptoms would vary slightly so I was never sure what was the problem. Over time, by observing myself and after discussions with the doctor, I realized that it is important to know what ails us. Here’s what I learnt through research and medical advice.
Usually, it is difficult to understand whether the sniffles or sneezes are due to an allergy or its flu. Seasonal changes do play a role in both the conditions.
So, the immediate question which comes to one’s mind is what is Flu and is it linked to allergy? Or does an allergy lead to flu?
Symptoms of flu and an allergic reaction
Influenza, commonly called as “Flu” is a respiratory illness resulting from a virus infection. It’s contagious and spreads via respiratory droplets passed by physical contact like talking, shaking hands etc. On the other hand, allergy occurs when our body’s immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, mold, certain chemical substances, food etc.
The causes and the symptoms for both the indications are quite different –
Hence, there are a few similarities between Flu and allergies:
- Both these diseases affect the respiratory system largely.
- They have a few common symptoms like sneezing, sore throat etc
Understanding how a flu is different from an allergy
However, we need to keep the focus on the differences between the both to get a better understanding –
Understanding is the key to Management
We have got good amount of clarity on the symptoms, duration of the disease and disease management. Nevertheless, I would like to reiterate a few points keeping in mind how are flu and allergies are connected in India –
- Although there are few similarities in the symptoms, we must take note of the other accompanied symptoms which are a huge distinguishing factor like fever, pain and exhaustion in case of Influenza.
- During seasonal changes we observe a surge in the number of cases, however in case of allergies over a period of time we develop an understanding of the causes and can take required precautions to avoid the triggers. E.g.: If someone has a dust allergy then take appropriate precautions while dusting the house, passing through a dusty road etc.
- In case of flu it becomes a bit difficult to take preventive measures. However, if we know of a person suffering from the disease, we can avoid contact. Another preventive measure is maintaining good hygiene practices which is a cause of concern in our country. Washing hands after you come in contact with a person who shows symptoms or touch some surface area which might have the respiratory droplets must be done. CDC does recommend that people above 6 months of age should get an Influenza vaccine.
- In any case we should not self-medicate and see a doctor if the symptoms don’t come under control.
I hope, I was able to resolve some of your doubts about Flu and Allergy.
And to answer the question whether Flu and Allergy are interconnected, well they are not!
Learn more about allergies and their management here.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of the public awareness initiative supported by Sanofi India. Sanofi India bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information.