Common Questions About Allergies And Colds
Symptoms can vary widely. Ask these questions to help determine if you should reach for a Claritin® product or curl up with a bowl of chicken noodle soup and rest:
How quickly did your symptoms strike?
AllergyX Allergy An exaggerated response of the immune system to a substance that is ordinarily harmless. symptoms tend to hit all at once when you come into contact with an allergenX allergen A substance that your body perceives as foreign and harmful initiates the allergic reaction.. Symptoms of a cold sometimes appear one at a time and develop over a few days.
How long have you had symptoms?
Colds typically run their course within seven to 10 days. Allergy symptoms can last weeks or months. If your cold symptoms last longer than 10 days, talk to your doctor.
Have you been around sick people?
If co-workers, friends, family or classmates have had colds recently, there is a good chance the virus has been transmitted to you. Cold viruses are easily transmitted through coughing, sneezing and touching.
Where do your symptoms appear?
What time of year is it?
How You Can Tell The Difference Between Allergies Cold Flu And Covid
Eyes watering? Runny nose? Feel like your head is locked in an ever-tighter vice?
Sounds like the start of seasonal allergies, maybe a cold or flu . . . but not COVID-19.
To keep anxiety levels down, and reduce the crush on local healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic, its important to know the difference between seasonal allergies or other illness and the more serious COVID-19.
This novel coronavirus causes a respiratory illness manifested by fever, cough and difficulty breathing, said Dr. Virginia Bieluch, the chief of infectious diseases at The Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain.
Pay particular attention to that combination of three symptoms. Less frequently, says the World Health Organization, a COVID-19 infection can produce symptoms similar to the flu like aches and pains, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion or diarrhea.
Allergies, unlike coronavirus, do not cause a fever and seldom shortness of breath. Yet the sneezing, runny nose, congestion and itchy, watery eyes are more than an inconvenience. Sometimes allergy sufferers dont know whether theyre suffering from seasonal allergies, a nasty cold or even asthma that might require a doctors attention.
A cold usually reveals itself gradually. The flu can hit like an anvil.
Flu symptoms will permeate the entire body, says Dr. Bieluch.
How Can You Protect Yourself This Flu Season
Orenstein, Schaffner and Cioe-Pena offered the following strategies:
- Get a flu shot by the end of October. Tell everyone you know to do the same.
- Take precautions to prevent spread of the coronavirus, especially social distancing, regular hand washing, wearing a mask and interacting with people outside your household only outdoors.
- Stay home if you have any signs of being sick. If you’re on the fence about whether you can safely leave your house, contact your health care provider.
- If you’re young, healthy and only have mild illness, call your health care provider before visiting an office setting or hospital.
Last, if you know you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, contact your health care provider as soon as possible.
Also Check: Can You Take Allergy Pills With Flonase
Does My Child Have A Cold
Common colds happen when a virus enters your body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. “Once the virus is in your body, it replicates until your immune system or medication are able to fight it off,” says Dr. Jain. Symptoms usually appear within a few days of exposure to the virus, and they might include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Mild headache
What Is A Cold
Although allergies share many of the same symptoms as colds, colds are different. Cold symptoms occur when a virus gets into your body and your immune system attacks it. This can cause some of the same symptoms such as sneezing and nasal congestion, also seen with allergies.
But there are some key differences. Germs that cause colds are contagious. You can become infected when someone with cold symptoms sneezes, coughs, or touches you.
Luckily, cold symptoms tend to disappear in 7 to 10 days. If cold symptoms last longer than 2 weeks, consider contacting your doctor.
You May Like: Do Twix Have Nuts In Them
What Should I Do If I Dont Know If Its A Cold Or Covid
Unfortunately, despite the classic symptoms no longer being the most common, the government is only giving away free PCR tests to people with a fever, loss or change in smell or taste or a new, continuous cough.
Experts say that given the changing nature of the illness, people should get a test even if their symptoms are milder or seem more like a cold. Do stay at home and get a test, Prof Tim Spector, lead scientist on the Zoe app, said, recommending people who think they may have a cold get a lateral flow test from their nearest pharmacy.
If its positive, get a PCR test to make sure, but treat it as if youve got Covid, he said.
What Does A Sinus Infection Look Like
A sinus infection develops when the lining of the sinus cavities becomes irritated and inflamed, preventing proper mucus drainage and airflow. When mucus builds up in the nasal or sinus passages it becomes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, which can lead to an infection.
Sinusitis symptoms like nasal blockage and facial pain can be frustrating, especially when they continue for long periods of time or return frequently. Common symptoms of sinus infection include:
- Dental pain
- Pus in the nasal cavity
It is possible to start out with a cold, and later end up with a sinus infection because of the lack of drainage caused by cold symptoms. Root causes of a sinus infection include:
- Cold or virus
When a sinus infection appears quickly, produces green or yellow colored mucus, and lasts for up to two weeks, it is usually acute sinusitis. When symptoms last for many weeks or return frequently, this is usually a sign of chronic sinusitis. Acute sinusitis will often resolve itself by treating the symptoms of swelling and congestion, without a visit to a doctor. If symptoms carry on and you think you may have chronic sinusitis, seeing an experienced ENT doctor is the best way to determine the root cause of your sinus issues and get the right treatment.
Sinus Infection Vs Cold: How To Tell The Difference
June 14, 2021 Written by: Michael Menachof Categories: Sinus
Dr. Menachof, MD, has specialized in conditions around the head, throat, ear, nose, neck and face for over 20 years, and was the first to bring sublingual allergy drops to Colorado in 2005. He has been recognized as a Fellow by multiple academies, named one of Americas Top Facial Plastic Surgeons continually since 2003 and is featured in multiple national publications.
When youre feeling sick, it can be tough to tell whether you are struggling with a sinus infection or simply have the common cold. The symptoms of these conditions can be very similar, but there are important differences between the two and they must be treated differently in order for you to find relief.
Could My Cold Be Rsv
It might be, although its hard to tell the difference between symptoms. RSV is one of the most common causes of childhood illness, but it can also affect adults. Like the common cold, cases of RSV largely vanished during the lockdowns, but have been steadily rising since. In adults and healthy children over the age of one, symptoms tend to be mild, and infections usually clear up within a week.
Most babies and young children who catch RSV can be treated at home, in the same way that parents would treat a common cold. The infection usually goes away within two weeks.
More severe cases require a trip to the hospital, where your child might be offered oxygen, IV fluids and medications to open their airways.
Read Also: Dr Morosky Allergy
How To Know For Sure If Its A Cold Or Allergies
There are no tests necessary for the common cold. If you cant diagnose a cold yourself, Dr. Lee can help you come to the right conclusion and make sure you have what you need to reduce your symptoms until your cold goes away.
Meanwhile, you can treat the cold symptoms you have with over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, tea with honey for a sore throat, and staying well hydrated and well rested.
If you have symptoms of allergies, Dr. Lee can perform a series of skin tests to identify the precise allergen. Once we find the culprit, Dr. Lee develops an immunotherapy treatment to help build your bodys resistance to the allergens so you can eventually overcome your allergies.
Whether you have a cold, allergies, or any other health concerns, you can count on Dr. Lee and our team here at Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care to provide you with a quick and accurate diagnosis so you can get healthy and stay healthy.
Do You Have A Cold The Flu Or Allergies
The above table details the symptom differences between all three conditions.
The common symptoms of a cold, flu and allergies are a stuffy or a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, a cough, a headache, or even fatigue. Two differing symptoms are a fever or aches/pain, these would not be caused by allergies, but could be due to a cold or the flu. Symptoms of the flu are often more severe than a cold.
While the symptoms are similar, the origin of the conditions are different. A cold and the flu are both caused by different viruses, whereas allergies are caused by your immune system reacting to a trigger. Common inhalant allergy triggers are pollen, dust, mold, pet dander.
See related: Is it a cold? Or is it Allergies?
Also Check: Allergy Nasal Spray Otc
Still Wondering If Its A Cold Or Sinus Infection See A Doctor
Colds and sinus infections can both heal on their own, but when your symptoms become intense or linger for weeks you should seek help from an Ear, Nose and Throat expert. An experienced doctor will be able to review your symptoms and timeline, examine your sinuses to determine the root cause, and provide you with a treatment plan to help you heal quickly. If youre sick and wondering if you have a cold or sinus infection, stop suffering through symptoms and consult with an ENT expert today.
When To See A Doctor
It is not always easy to tell the difference between a cold and an allergy, so its important to know when to see a healthcare provider. If symptoms last for more than 2 weeks or if they are severe, it may be a good idea to see a doctor.
Doctors can identify allergy triggers through serum and skin tests. Once a specific allergen has been identified, an appropriate treatment plan is developed.
You May Like: What’s Better For Allergies Claritin Or Zyrtec
Signs Your Cold Symptoms Actually Stem From An Allergy
If youre coughing and sneezing and have a sore throat, and youre like most people, youre probably confused about what your symptoms mean. Is it a cold? Allergies? Something worse?
Here at Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care, those are some of the most common questions we get. The symptoms of colds and allergies are so similar, its hard to tell the difference.
Dr. James Lee, our experienced family physician, can help you understand the unique aspects of each so you can know whether your cold symptoms are actually allergy symptoms.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have Covid
COVID-19 is still spreading.
The only way we can bring the pandemic to an end is through vaccination and stopping the virus from spreading between people.
If you feel under the weather you should stay home and get a COVID test, even if youâve been vaccinated. If you test positive you should self-isolate to avoid passing on COVID-19 to those around you.
Even if you donât have COVID, the pandemic has taught us that itâs a good idea to stay home to avoid giving your germs to others. If you have to go out, consider wearing a mask, cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow, and wash your hands regularly.
As we continue to live through the pandemic, weâre gathering data to understand more about the differences between COVID and other infections like colds and flu.
To do this, we need as many people as possible to and start logging daily health reports. It only takes a minute, but youâll be contributing to life-saving research.
Stay safe and keep logging.
Recommended Reading: Cetirizine For Allergies
What Are The Symptoms Of The Flu Versus The Symptoms Of A Cold
The symptoms of flu can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue . Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems.
Links with this icon indicate that you are leaving the CDC website.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cannot attest to the accuracy of a non-federal website.
- Linking to a non-federal website does not constitute an endorsement by CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the website.
- CDC is not responsible for Section 508 compliance on other federal or private website.
Is It A Cold Or Allergies
Its often hard to tell the difference between a cold and allergies. Both can cause similar symptoms, such as a runny and/or stuffy nose, sneezing, fatigue, and a sore throat. However, there are some differences that might help you tell if its allergies vs. a cold.
Simply put, colds are infections caused by viruses. Colds can be contagious up to two days before symptoms start and can last two weeks after exposure to the virus. Allergies, on the other hand, are not contagious, and the symptoms you experience are your immune system’s reaction to allergens, such as pollen.
Take our simple allergies vs. cold quiz to learn the differences between cold and common allergy symptoms.
Whats The Difference Between Hay Fever And A Cold: Symptoms Of A Cold
There are additional cold symptoms that are uncommon with allergies. If youre also experiencing any of the following, its more likely that you have a cold:
- Aches and pains, which can include pressure in the face/ears.
- Sore throat.
- Raised temperature, fever or sweating.
Aches and fevers are associated more with colds than allergies. Although the throat can be affected with an allergy or common cold, the feeling is often different its usually sore with a cold, and itchy with an allergy. The same goes for eyes colds or pollen allergy symptoms can include watery eyes, but theyre more common with an allergy, when they also tend to be itchy.
What Is The Difference Between A Cold And Flu
Flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. Because these two types of illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms are more intense. Colds are usually milder than flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. Flu can have very serious associated complications.
You May Like: Allergic Drugs Name
Keep Your Asthma In Check
While difficulty breathing and shortness of breath have been symptoms associated with coronavirus, it can also be signs of asthma that can flare up with the allergy season. If you dont have a fever present with these symptoms, asthma could be the culprit.
People with asthma need to stay on top of their treatment, says Dr. Benninger, especially since people with respiratory issues are at a higher risk of potentially severe illness from coronavirus. Whether its inhalers or nasal sprays, its important to be up to date on their medication and proper usage.
Dr. Benninger also recommends starting allergy medications early in the allergy season rather than waiting for the worst part.
If you can prevent the symptoms from worsening, then youre much more likely to have less difficulty when you get to the time of the season when allergies tend to get out of control, he says.
Keep Track Of How Long You’ve Felt Symptoms
In addition to identifying what your symptoms are, keep track of how quickly they came on and how long they’ve lasted. This is also helpful to figure out whether you have allergies or a cold.
Often a person will feel OK for long periods before the cold’s nasal and throat symptoms fully set in, Cutler says. And a cold typically lasts three to 10 days although it can stick around for several weeks according to the Mayo Clinic.
So while your body will eventually recover from a cold in 7 to 10 days, you’ll continue to suffer from allergies as long as you’re exposed to what’s triggering them. And that brings us to the final clue: the season.
Also Check: What Allergy Medicine Is Stronger Than Zyrtec