Skip to main content

Cough, Cold, Flu & Allergy Information

What is an Allergy?

Allergy is an abnormal response of the immune system. The substances that trigger allergy are called allergens. Examples include pollens, dust mite, moulds, and certain foods. The body mistakes harmless substances as harmful – such as dust, pollen and attacks them. The body then releases chemicals such as histamine, which then causes symptoms similar to common cold.

The common cold is a viral infection of the nose, throat and nasal sinuses characterised by inflammation, discharge and nasal congestion.

On average, adults can get 2 – 4 colds each year. Children generally tend to get 5 – 7 colds a year.1, 2

Allergy symptoms include:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Watery nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy watery eyes
  • An itchy nose and throat
  • Inflammation of the eyes and
  • A sore throat when swallowing

If the symptoms recur throughout the year the disorder is called “Perennial Allergic Rhinitis”. It is caused by reactions to house dust-mites, feathers, animal hair, mould or fungi and irritants such as chemicals, odours and fumes. The symptoms of a year round (perennial) allergic rhinitis may be more severe in winter, when people spend more time indoors.

Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis, by contrast, tends to occur in spring or summer and is brought on by wind born pollens from grasses, flowers, weeds or trees.