Cold, flu or allergies?

SOMETHING is making you sick. And unfortunately, this time of year, it could be any number of things.

While you may be miserable regardless of the cause, identifying the problem could make a difference as to how to treat it and feel better sooner.

Influenza is the most serious of the cold-weather bugs, mainly because its complications put a lot of people in the hospital. And flu season is well underway in San Antonio. Our University Health System labs are seeing a lot of the A/H3N2 strain — which is the predominant strain this year.

Although there’s been concern that this year’s vaccine isn’t as effective against this particular strain as we’d like, it will likely lessen your symptoms if it doesn’t prevent them in the first place. If you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet, get one.

A lot of other viruses tend to be lumped together as the common cold. While there’s no vaccine, doctors do have some recommendations about making you feel better.

As for allergies, mountain cedar pollen is the biggest scourge this time of year for sufferers. It usually gets cast off trees after the first frost, which this year arrived in dramatic fashion with an un-San Antonio-like snowstorm.

Dr. Bryan Alsip, chief medical officer at University Health System, wrote a blog post in 2015 explaining the difference between flu, colds and allergies. We’re reposting it for your reading pleasure.