Is it Allergies, or a Cold?

The unseasonably warm weather along with this week's moist air may be causing anxiety among allergy sufferers. But a local allergy expert says Mother Nature is still on track.

This week's warm and balmy weather almost feels as though spring has arrived. The trees, however, have not been fooled into early pollination according to Las Vegas allergist Joel Katz. Dr. Katz said, "We've had the pollination of cedar, which is normally our first. We've had elm. And the numbers have not been higher than someone should expect this time of year."

The next major pollen contributor in the valley is mulberry, still weeks a way. But while allergens are currently on the mild side, this has been a vigorous cold season. "This is just anecdotal, but in this office, we have seen a large number of families coming in where every family member has been affected. Personally, my whole family has been sick more than I can remember," Dr. Katz said.

Cold and allergy symptoms are similar, but there are a few distinctions. A cold is uniquely marked by a thick mucous buildup and fever. Seasonal allergies come with itchy, watery eyes accompanied by a clear runny nose. Both colds and allergies can induce coughing and congestion.

Dr Katz says this year there may not be much of a break between the two. "I think that at this stage, it might be difficult for some people to distinguish what's going on. In two weeks time, once mulberry pollen starts coming out, it's going to be pretty clear who's got the allergies and who's got the colds."

Dr. Katz says the worst seasonal culprit is olive tree pollen, which is about six weeks away.

Email anchor Paula Francis at pfrancis@klastv.com


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