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How To Tell If It’s Allergies Or A Cold

Your Eyes Are Itchy And Watery

Is It Allergies or a Cold?

While you might notice some redness or discomfort around your eyes when youre sick with a cold, its more likely that allergies are causing eye symptoms like watering and itching, Dr. Rosenstreich says.

Your nose and throat might feel itchy with a cold, says Dr. Metcalfe, but a cold usually doesnt affect the eyes. Allergies may also cause some swelling around the eyes, adds Dr. Parikh.

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Know Your Paths To Care

Were here to help you get better quickly, with tools and information for self-care and convenient options for visits or advice when you need it. Easy ways to get help for your cold or allergy symptoms include:

  • Consulting Nurse Service: Call a nurse, who will assess your symptoms and recommend treatments or other next steps. Available 24/7.
  • Online visit: Complete a questionnaire about your symptoms. A clinician will provide a diagnosis, treatment plan and, if needed, a prescription without a trip to your doctors office.
  • CareClinic by Kaiser Permanente at Bartell Drugs:Walk in for care at 15 Puget Sound Bartell Drugs locations. Open 7 days a week with evening and weekend hours.

What Are Your Symptoms

Both allergies and colds may cause a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, a cough, and fatigue. Itchy eyes, post-nasal drip, and dark circles under your eyes are more common with allergies. Symptoms more commonly caused by a virus include sore throat, cloudy or discolored nasal discharge, fever, and general aches and pains.

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Health Officials Say Theyre Worried But Not Panicked About Fast Spread Of Omicron

With cases of Omicron climbing across the country and the world, experts believe the variant will become the dominant strain very soon.

In newly released modelling data Ontarios Science Advisory Table suggests the new variant will become the dominant strain in the province this week.

Barrett is concerned about how rapidly Omicron is spreading, but says she isn’t panicking yet.

We do have to be careful what we do in the next number of weeks and so Im concerned its spreading very quickly and it has the ability at least decrease the effectiveness of two doses of vaccine. We think a third dose can help to get around that fact, Barrett told Yahoo Canada.

Signs That Can Help You Decide If It’s A Cold Or Flu

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1. Fever. The flu generally causes high fever fairly consistently, while viral colds don’t often cause fever. And if they do, it’s generally a low-grade fever. Allergies should never cause fever.

2. Body aches. Aches and pains tend to be very pronounced with the flu and while they can occur with a common cold, they’re typically mild. Body aches are not common with allergies.

3. Cough. A flu cough tends to be more severe than the type of cough that accompanies a cold. Like a fever and body aches, a cough is much less common with allergies.

4. Runny nose. Nasal drainage can occur during a cold or flu, as well as with allergies.

5. Sore throat. Throat irritation and pain is common with colds and flu. Typically, people with allergies report having an itchy throat and not actual pain.

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Colds And Allergies: Whats The Difference

Many of my patients are not sure how to tell the difference between a common cold and allergies. Its easy to get confused, since colds and allergies share some of the same symptoms. Heres how you can tell if your symptoms are related to a cold virus or allergies:

  • Duration: Colds dont usually last longer than 5 to 7 days, but allergies can last as long as youre exposed to the thing youre allergic to, the allergen.
  • Onset of Symptoms: Cold viruses take about three days to cause symptoms. The sneezing, watery eyes, etc., from an allergy can happen as soon as you are in contact with the allergen.
  • Allergy Symptom Characteristic: Allergies never cause a fever or body aches. The following symptoms are more common in allergy sufferers : itchy, watery eyes clear mucus that doesnt turn yellow and symptoms that are triggered when seasons change.
  • Cold Symptom Characteristics: The following symptoms are more common in cold virus infections : cough sore throat thick, yellow mucus and winter-time onset. Unlike allergies, the common cold is often accompanied by fever and body aches.

Keep Your Asthma In Check

While difficulty breathing and shortness of breath have been symptoms associated with COVID-19, 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.

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Treating Seasonal Allergies In Children

  • Minimize symptoms at home by washing clothes after being outside, vacuuming often and using air filters and purifiers.
  • Try a non-sedating oral antihistamine, such as Zyrtec or Claritin. Your child should get relief within a day or two.
  • If the antihistamine helps, but not much, add a nasal steroid such as over-the-counter Flonase which you spray into the nose. Sometimes you need both antihistamine and nasal spray to control allergies.
  • You can also try nasal spray only. If your child gets relief, skip the oral antihistamine.

What Are The Different Types Of Rhinitis

How To Tell If It’s Coronavirus, The Flu, A Cold, Or Allergies

There are several types of rhinitis:

  • Allergic rhinitis is caused by allergies to substances called allergens. There are two types of allergic rhinitis: seasonal and perennial .
  • Seasonal allergic rhinitis is sometimes called hay fever. It is an allergic reaction to pollen from trees, grasses and weeds. This type of rhinitis occurs mainly in the spring and fall, when pollen from trees, grasses and weeds are in the air.
  • Perennial allergic rhinitis is caused by allergens that are present all year long. The primary causes of this type of rhinitis are allergies to dust mites, mold, animal dander and cockroach debris.
  • Non-allergic rhinitis is not caused by allergens. Smoke, chemicals or other irritating environmental conditions may provoke non-allergic rhinitis. Hormonal changes, physical defects of the nose and the overuse of nose sprays may also cause it.
  • Infectious rhinitis is possibly the most common type of rhinitis. It is also known as the common cold or upper respiratory infection . Colds occur when a cold virus settles into the mucous membranes of the nose and sinus cavities and causes an infection.
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    Treating The Common Cold

    Your body will get rid of the cold virus over time. Since antibiotics only kill bacteria, they wont work on the viruses that cause colds. Still, there are medications that can help relieve your symptoms while a cold runs its course.

    Cold remedies include:

    Cough syrups and OTC medications arent recommended for children under 4 years old, while nasal sprays arent recommended for children under age 6.

    Ask your doctor before taking any OTC cold medication, especially if you also take prescription medications, have any existing health conditions, or are pregnant.

    Dont use cold medications for a long period of time. Using them for extended periods can cause side effects such as rebound congestion.

    You can also try home treatments to relieve a cold, such as:

    • drinking more fluids like water, juice, and herbal tea
    • loratadine-pseudoephedrine

    Decongestants come in pills and nasal sprays. However, nasal decongestants such as oxymetazoline can make your congestion worse if you use them for more than three days in a row.

    Is It Allergies Or A Cold

    Cold and allergy symptoms often overlap, so its easy to mistake cold symptoms for allergies, and vice versa. Understanding the cause of your symptoms helps you choose the right treatment. It also gives you a better picture of your overall health.

    Clinicians use the 5 factors below to help distinguish between colds and allergies.

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    How To Tell The Difference Between Omicron And The Common Cold

    With the possibility of many Canadians getting sick this cold season, many people are wondering how symptoms of a regular cold differ from something more serious like Omicron. However, making that distinction is more difficult than it sounds.

    The common cold is a viral infection of your upper respiratory tract your nose and throat according to the Mayo Clinic. Someone with a cold may experience a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough and body aches.

    COVID-19 is also a respiratory virus, and someone who is infected will experience similar symptoms. In some cases gastrointestinal symptoms, like diarrhea and nausea, can also overlap between the coronavirus and the cold.

    The one symptom you can experience with COVID-19 and not with influenza is loss of smell. However, many people with the coronavirus dont lose their sense of smell and Barrett says its not a useful tool to differentiate between the two.

    With both infections giving off similar effects, self-diagnosing is not a safe option.

    When experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms, the only way to know for sure is to get tested.

    Its Probably Allergies If:

    How can you tell if it

    Your mucus is clear or watery. And it will stay clear, instead of becoming thick or discolored like it can with a cold, says Michael Benninger, MD, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at the Cleveland Clinic.

    Your eyes are itchy or watery. Its rare to have itchy eyes when you have a cold.

    Your symptoms stay the same.Allergies may feel extra intense for the first day or 2, but youll have the same symptoms day after day, Benninger says.

    Youve had the sniffles for more than a week. A cold usually clears up in 7 to 10 days, but allergies can last several weeks or longer.

    Your symptoms show up only in certain situations. Find yourself sneezing every spring or fall? Those are common times for allergies. Another allergy tip-off: Being in a specific place makes you feel miserable for example, in a house with a cat.

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    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.
    • Fatigue.
    • 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.

    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?

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    How Do I Know If I Have A Cold Or Covid

    At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, the main distinguishing symptoms of COVID-19 were thought to be fever, cough and loss of smell , often known as the âclassic three or triadâ.

    Thanks to millions of health reports from our ZOE COVID Study app contributors, we now know that there are more than 20 symptoms of COVID-19, including headache, runny nose, sneezing and sore throat.

    Over the past 18 months the pattern of symptoms has changed as the virus has evolved and more people have been vaccinated.

    Many of the symptoms of COVID-19 are now the same as a regular cold, especially for people who have received two doses of the vaccine, making it hard to tell the difference.

    Take a look at the lists below to know which of the most common COVID-19 symptoms you should be looking out for, depending on whether youâve been vaccinated or not.

    Our data shows that loss of smell or loss of taste is still one of the most important predictors of testing positive for COVID-19 rather than a regular cold, so itâs an important symptom to look out for, whether youâve been vaccinated or not.

    You can check your sense of smell easily at home by sniffing scented foods or products, or noticing whether familiar foods start to lose their flavour or taste strange.

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    Allergies Or Cold: How Can You Tell?

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    But Timberlake said that when youre trying to figure out whats ailing you, its best to err on the side of caution and assume that its a viral infection until proven otherwise.

    I advise people if you have a new runny nose, if youre newly congested, if youre having any of those symptoms, its probably best at least at the beginning of those symptoms to go ahead and get that COVID test to make sure that were not dealing with COVID, he said.

    Timberlake said the flu is expected to pick up this year, especially compared to last season year. Wisconsins influenza cases are minimal so far this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    A lot of the precautions that we took from COVID, we really saw a decrease in all respiratory viruses, including influenza, he said.

    Influenza is tougher to differentiate from COVID-19 because a lot of the symptoms are the same: fever, chills, muscle aches, runny and congested nose and coughing.

    Prevea Healths symptom checker for adults and children identify some subtle differences between influenza and COVID-19, particularly that COVID-19 causes loss of taste or smell and that shortness of breath is rare for those with influenza.

    Additionally, the flu will come on suddenly one to four days after exposure, while COVID-19 typically shows up after five days.

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    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.

    How To Tell If You’re Suffering From Allergies Or A Cold

    This story was written by Dr. Dave Hnida andoriginally appeared on CBS Denver.

    It seems like the endless river of sniffles and runny noses. We’re transitioning from the cold and flu season into a whopper of an allergy season. And it is a whopper. Some docs are calling it one of the worst we’ve had in years.

    All of the moisture and temperature swings we’ve had mean a leap in pollen counts as the temps warm — and right now it’s those trees which are spewing out those microscopic particles of misery, with the grasses soon to follow.

    But here’s the kicker. This year, we are seeing allergies in people who have never had allergies before. And that can make it really confusing if you aren’t sure whether those sniffles and sneezes are from a spring cold or an attack of the pollen monsters. It can be a tough call. You’ve gone your whole life allergy free — and bang — you begin to achoo away.

    So how do you tell the difference? Well, even that can be a tough call but here are some basic guidelines:

    With allergies, you don’t get fever or chills. You don’t get a painful throat, but perhaps a scratchy throat. You’re also more likely to be clearing your throat a lot. Itchy eyes and fits of sneezing tend to fit more of an allergy picture, and if you’re coughing — it tends to be one that’s not deep. And with allergies, your nose tends to run like it’s in a long distance race.

    Now obviously if you’re sick, the doctor is for you. But if you suspect allergies, here are a few thoughts:

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