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Just the Weather, or Under the Weather?

Who “nose” how to tell the cold from a cold?  As we head toward family gatherings, sharing meals and sometimes germs, the teams at Harbin Clinic ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) want to make sure you can tell whether your nose is just running from that chilly ride “over the river and through the woods” or whether you’re suffering from chronic allergies. As temperatures turn colder, it can often be difficult to figure out what is ailing you. A virus? Chronic allergies? Can you spot the difference?

Just Colder Temperatures:

Did you know that your nose creates moisture for itself when it is too dry? Colder air can pull the moisture away from the inside of your nose, causing it to try to compensate by creating moisture or snot. So, don’t assume whenever your nose runs that you’ve caught a virus.

How to know? If you walk inside a warm building and you don’t see a change in your condition, chances are you’re experiencing more than a brush with cold weather.

A “Cold” Virus:

Cold weather also creates situations where people are more likely to share germs. We are often inside and in closer proximity. Cooler air is also lower in humidity, giving germs the ability to stay in the air longer. With more indoor activity and lower humidity, there’s a perfect storm for viral spread.

How to know? Are you suffering from a runny nose, sore throat, and a cough? When did your symptoms start? A cold can last up to 10 days. But after 10 days, if your symptoms are still severe or you are still running a fever, it’s time to call your primary care physician.

Infection or Allergies:

After ten days of symptoms, it’s probably time to start asking yourself some questions. Have you developed fever or facial pain, or do you have continued congestion? If so, you may have a sinus infection. But if you are experiencing chronic cold symptoms without fever, you could also be experiencing allergies. Many people associate allergies with pollen or outdoor elements, but people are as likely to struggle with allergies in the winter due to prolonged indoor exposure to dust mites, pet dander, molds, etc.

When to see your Local ENT… At Harbin Clinic ENT, we care for patients in need of allergy management suffering from chronic sinus conditions. We are also here when patients need surgical intervention for issues such as snoring, ear infections, thyroid disease, and cancers of the head and neck. Harbin Clinic ENT specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of face, nose, sinuses, throat, ear, neck organs, and skull base disorders and conditions. Make an appointment with us if your primary care physician thinks you need further intervention, and we’ll make sure your diagnosis is on the nose.

Published December 3, 2021

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