Spring Allergies or am I truly sick??

Pretty blossoming flowers and springtime are upon us. Sniffles begin. So how do you know if it’s truly allergies or a cold? It can get confusing trying to distinguish between the two, because they share many of the same symptoms.  The answer is in the symptoms. If you have allergies, your immune system overreacts to normally harmless substances called “allergens”.  In response to this, the body release a chemical called “histamine” which leads to symptoms.  These allergens come from pollen, ragweed, grass, trees, blooming flowers, (as well as ongoing dust mites, animal dander, mold, mildew, that happen year round- but we are talking mainly about springtime allergies here).   Such symptoms include sneezing, itchy clear runny nose and throat,  itchy (sometimes red) watery eyes, congestion, fatigue and sometimes sore throat. Symptoms flare up as soon as you come in contact with the allergen.  Allergies typically occur in the warmer months, when the air is full of pollen.  Springtime allergies may last up to 6 weeks and are not contagious. Symptoms may improve with over-the-counter antihistamines. While allergies are caused by allergens, colds are caused by viruses.  During a cold, your immune system attacks the virus.  Symptoms include sore throat, congestion, thicker mucus, stuffy  nose, cough,  and usually creep up over a few days.   Such symptoms typically run their course and can last up to 2 weeks. (The key point here is that symptoms of allergies and colds do not include high fever, discolored nasal mucus, severe fatigue, severe body aches, which can indicate the progression to  a sinus infection or flu, and need further evaluation.) Colds are more common in...

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Don’t be a couch potato!

We all have heard the hype about a sedentary lifestyle being bad for our overall health. It can lead to certain diseases such as osteoporosis, dementia, depression and anxiety, certain cancers, heart disease, and diabetes just to name a few. But what is it about movement that is so healthy and the lack of movement that so detrimental? Prolonged periods of sitting leads to larger waist circumference, increase in fasting triglyceride levels and reduced clearance of blood glucose. In opposition, skeletal muscle movement leads to leaner waist lines, lower triglycerides, and decreased blood sugar. All of these help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Weight bearing movements of exercise also helps to keep our bones strong. The increased oxygen that is pumped to our brain with exercise also improves brain function and decreases dementia. The drop in stress hormones from exercise can help to improve mood and reduce anxiety. These are just a few of the many benefits of movement. Adversely, a sedentary life style negatively impacts our physical and mental well being by increasing the incidence of numerous diseases. So, the bottom line is for a healthier and happier you get...

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