When winter colds and flu finally stop bothering us, but we still find ourselves sneezing, we always want to know, "Is this a cold or an allergy?" Finding out whether your symptoms are caused by a cold or allergy is the first step to finding relief, and here’s how to tell. Colds are contagious and are caused by one of more than 200 viruses. You can’t catch allergies, which are triggered by allergens, prompting your immune system to overreact.
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Talking too much on your cell phone can be dangerous, but in a more subtle way than you might think. There are all kinds of allergies and it turns out that chatting endlessly on your cell phone can lead to an allergic reaction to the nickel in your phone. From cosmetics to jewelry, body piercings to tattoos, allergies can lurk in unlikely places. Allergist Luz Fonacier says, "Increased use of cell phones with unlimited usage plans has led to more prolonged exposure to the nickel in phones.read more

Bad news for 35 million allergy sufferers: ragweed, fungal spores and poison ivy are thriving due to rising carbon dioxide levels. Additionally, leaves fed by heightened levels of carbon dioxide enable fungi to reproduce more rapidly and spread more allergenic spores, leading to higher rates of allergies and asthma. Plant physiologist Lewis Ziska says, "Plant-based respiratory allergies are on the rise and increased levels of ragweed pollen are in the air. Climate change is affecting plants and human health, especially allergy sufferers." Climate change also affects allergen levels in homes, schools and offices. Not only are people allergic to outdoor allergies going to experience more symptoms, so are people with indoor allergies.read more

Allergies aren’t simple: people in different countries tend to have different food allergies. In one part of Europe, some people are allergic to the flesh of apples (but not the skin), while others are allergic only to the skin!

Greeks are rarely allergic to peanuts (an allergy that afflicts many children in the US), but many of them are allergic to melon (an allergy which is almost unheard of here). Some Italians are allergic to apples (another rare allergy in the US). In fact, hazelnuts and apples are common food allergies in Europe. Scientists still don’t understand why these regional differences exist.
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