Is that a cold, a sinus infection, or allergies?

KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- About everywhere you go someone is sniffling and sneezing.

The good news, is that chances are they aren't contagious.

While there are some common colds going around and flu season is among us, many of the sniffles out there are allergy related.

Fall allergens are in the air and hitting East Tennessee hard.

Doctors say the problem right now seems to be pollen from plants doctors call "forbs".

The one we may be most familiar with is ragweed.

Another problem , with falling leaves comes more mold.

"There tends to be a lot of dead vegitative matter on the grass as well as the trees and various flora in east tennessee and this gives mold a large opportunity to proliferate in a profound way," says Dr. Rob Keeton of the Allergy, Asthma, and Sinus Center.

Since symptoms are similar, it can be confusing to know if it's a cold, infection, or allergies.

Colds will often begin with a clear nasal discharge but after several days discharge turns yellow or green, sneezes tend to be more productive, coughs are "wetter" and a fever may be present.

A sinus infection often begins like a cold, except but lasts for greater than 10 to 14 days with no improvement and often starts with high fever.

With allergies you suffer clear nasal discharge with sneezing. You may experience itchy, watery eyes and possibly a dry cough.


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