While you may be suspicious of allergies in Spring, a scratchy throat and that stuffed up feeling might just be a cold. Knowing the difference between a seasonal allergy or cold will help determine treatment quickly.

With allergies it's important to keep in mind that there's a family component. If neither parent has allergies, it's unlikely that you will. If both your parents have allergies, then you have a 75 percent chance of developing them, too. While it's not unheard of to develop allergies as a grownup, with the incidence of seasonal allergies on the increase, thanks in part to global warming and pollution.

"The big difference is that with allergies, you always have itchiness," says Dr. Cliff Bassett, vice chairman for public education for the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology. "You nearly always have itchiness with allergies -- your eyes, your nose, your throat."

Generally a cold comes on gradually, starting with sneezing, headache, lack of appetite and a sore throat, while with allergies you get symptoms almost immediately and doesn't go away right away. If your cold lasts for more than five to 10 days then suspect that it's not really a cold.

Seasonal allergies are nothing to sneeze at. Spring is the high season for allergy sufferers with flowers blooming around Australia. Fortunately there is help for allergy sufferers in the form of various allergy medications and sprays. However should you suspect that you have a seasonal allergy, be sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist before you begin any treatments.

If it's a common cold that plagues you, then the it's just as mum advised. Keep up the fluids, rest, throat lozenges, chicken soup and the patience to wait it out.

STREPSILS HONEY & LEMON