Summer days are here again, and with them come the sniffling, sneezing, scratchy throat and itchy eyes. Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever or seasonal allergies, affects between 10-30 percent of the population, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Seasonal allergies typically begin in February and can last well into the summer months, but common irritants like mold and dust can produce year-round symptoms.
Because seasonal allergies produce a wide variety of symptoms, it can be easy to mistake a more serious condition as simple allergies. Some conditions that share common symptoms with allergies include:
- Flu – Allergy symptoms that begin suddenly and are accompanied by a fever could actually be symptoms of the flu.
- The common cold – Allergies and colds both produce coughing, nasal drainage and watery eyes. However, if you develop body aches or pains, this is a sign that you probably have a cold.
- Sinus infection – Inflammation of the sinus cavities can produce congestion and headache which may be mistaken for allergies. If these symptoms are accompanied by mucus buildup and facial tenderness, you may actually be experiencing a sinus infection.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – Also known as acid reflux, GERD is a digestive condition that produces symptoms similar to allergies. Hoarseness, sore throat and dry cough that is accompanied by heartburn is likely a sign that you’ve developed GERD (Source:
There are several treatment options to alleviate seasonal allergies, but they are not effective in treating other medical conditions. Whether this is your first time dealing with allergy symptoms or you experience them every year, it’s always wise to see an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) for diagnosis. They will evaluate your symptoms and collect other important pieces of information to understand what’s causing your health issues. Proper diagnosis is the first step towards finding relief, so schedule an appointment with your ENT today!