Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Colds and Allergies and Fake Allergies Too

I have never myself had allergies.  Ever.  I guess I should consider myself very lucky.  But as a result, I've never really understood them.  When people sneeze and cough and wheeze in the spring and early fall, how do they know it's not just a cold?  I mean, truly, how do you really know?

I suppose I never really cared, until I had kids and started being wary of sick people coming to the house and being around them.  When you, or your child, is snotting and hacking all over my home, and you tell me it's just allergies, are you sure?  Really?  Because as history would have it, my kids seem to have "caught" allergies on several occasions.  

My suspicions of allergies generally only were exacerbated when I met my husband.  First, there's his fake fruit and nut allergies.  He claims that he is "allergic" to apples, but not cooked apples (or apples that have been peeled).  He claims that he is "allergic" to nuts, but he will eat peanuts, or cashews.  (And it's worth it to mention that nothing happens to him if he eats the aforementioned foods - he just gets a "scratchy throat."). He claims that he is "allergic" to dogs, yet I have never once seen him sneeze or react in the presence of any dog, let alone our dog.  And... you guessed it, whenever he comes down with a cold or sore throat - it's not an illness.  No, it's allergies.  (And yes, I tend to catch these "allergies" myself shortly after he comes down with his symptoms).  

(Sorry, honey.  I kid.  Kind of).  

Unfortunately, it took my son getting hit hard with allergies last spring for me to really start to believe that this whole "allergy" thing might not really be a farce.  

It started gradually.  A slight cold, a sniffle.  But then, Braden woke up one morning looking like he had been punched in the face - in both eyes.  His poor eyes were so swollen and puffy and red that I could think of nothing to do but put ice on them.  I sent him to school that day, and he came home even worse - crying and scratching and begging me for some relief.  After a frantic call to my husband (and a quick apology for doubting his allergy allegations all these years) and our pediatrician, I high tailed it to CVS to pick up some kids allergy medication.  The first didn't work so well, but after some trial and error, we did find one that did the trick.  It wasn't fool proof, but it allowed him to play outside and not experience extreme discomfort.  (Please click here for an overview of over the counter allergy medications and how to use them).    

Come early June, it was all over.
Now, I hear allergy season has returned.  And the quintessential question arises again - allergy or cold?  

Luckily, OTC Safety has some advice in this regard.  

If you find that your little one does have allergies, here's a great cheat sheet as to how to use (and not to use) allergy medications.  

So far so good in our household, for the most part.  My husband starting sneezing yesterday.  "Allergies," he said.  I suppose we'll see...

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All the opinions reflected here are my own.  


  1. I never believed in allergies either, UNTIL I moved from NYC to Ottawa and suddenly found myself experiencing seasonal allergies for the first time in my life. Now I know for sure that allergies are not just a psychological trick or a cold in disguise. I've also discovered that yes, it's possible to tell the difference between allergies and a cold: with allergies, I'm not tired or "feeling sick", I don't have a sore throat or other symptoms of illness that I get with colds, and I get instead some symptoms that don't come along with colds, such as very itchy eyes. So I never believed it until it happened to me, but now I dose myself with extra strong allergy medication to eliminate symptoms that can last up to a month in both spring and fall.

  2. You are lucky your husband claims his colds are allergies, since you don't have to baby an adult with allergies.

    My husband gets a sniffle and it is like he is DYING. I call it getting a MAN-Cold.


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