Sorting Out Your Cold And Allergy Symptoms
The reason people have such a hard time telling the difference between colds and allergies is the number of overlapping symptoms. Colds come and go, but if your cold symptoms are actually allergies, you can take steps to overcome them. With a little information, learn to decipher the signs and get the right treatment.
Wintery Mix Of Viruses
Winter is the prime cold and flu season. Youre more likely to be indoors and closer to others when its colder outside. Weather also plays a role in the spread of viruses.
Cold and flu viruses survive better and are more transmissible if its cooler and if theres lower humidity, Gordon explains.
Experts are concerned that flu and COVID-19 cases may increase and overlap in the winter. Flu cases usually start to increase around October and peak between December and February. Being infected with flu and SARS-CoV-2 at the same time is possible, as is showing symptoms of both.
If youre sick with the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs. Such drugs can make your flu milder and shorten the time you are sick. They work best if theyre used early in your illness.
The FDA has also approved one antiviral drug, called remdesivir, to treat COVID-19. Other treatments are in development and under review. No complementary approaches have been shown to be helpful for fighting off flu or COVID-19.
Fortunately, strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also prevent the spread of flu and cold. Measures like masking and social distancing work for other respiratory viruses, as well as COVID-19, says Dr. Chip Walter, who studies vaccine development at Duke University.
Allergies Vs Colds: Whats The Difference
Allergies vs. cold Its an internal debate people often have when they find themselves sneezing and blowing their noses frequently. Why does it matter whether its allergies or a cold thats causing their symptoms? The duration of the episode is one reason. A cold will run its course, but allergies can go on indefinitely, so you have to plan for that.
There are differences between allergies and a cold, but not everyone knows what they are. This article explains them.
You May Like: Green Allergy Pill
When Should I Seek Treatment For My Toddler
If you suspect your toddler has a cold, the vast majority of the time you can manage the symptoms at home while your childs cold resolves. Make an appointment to see our team at Valencia Pediatrics if your young childs condition doesnt improve after a couple of weeks or if your toddler develops a high fever.
If you think your toddler might have allergies, its important to make an appointment with Dr. Valencia. Allergy treatment from a pediatrician will allow your child to manage potentially life-disrupting and life-threatening symptoms.
At your appointment, Dr. Valencia performs allergy testing to determine what materials are causing your childs allergies if you arent certain. Then, Dr. Valencia develops a personalized plan to manage your toddlers allergies.
Dr. Valencia, with Micaela Marin-Tucker, PA-C and Megan Reynolds, C-PNP, offers specialized allergy treatment along with general pediatric care to children and adolescents. our office today to schedule allergy testing and management for your child.
You Might Also Enjoy…
How To Avoid A Summer Cold
There are several measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of getting a cold in the summer:
Wash your hands and limit your exposure to sick people Colds can be transmitted from person to person and sometimes from touching contaminated surfaces with the virus.
Boost your immune system Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, stay hydrated, and avoid excessive activity or stress. These are all ways to make sure your immune system is functioning at its best in the event it must fight off a summer cold virus.
Diagnosing Colds And Allergies
You dont need to see your doctor for a cold, but if you do make an appointment, your symptoms will likely be enough for them to confirm your diagnosis.
For allergies, you may need to see a primary care doctor, an ear-nose-throat doctor, or an allergist. The doctor will first ask about your symptoms. Severe or life-threatening allergic reactions often require the care of an allergy specialist.
A variety of tests can be used to diagnose allergies. A skin test can be used to determine your allergy triggers. Sometimes primary doctors or allergy specialists may also use blood tests to diagnose allergies depending on your age and other health conditions.
Differences Between Colds And Allergies
Besides differences in symptoms, there are three other ways to tell whether you have a cold or allergy:
You May Like: Is Zyrtec Good For Allergic Reaction
Allergies Vs Cold Symptoms: Whats The Difference
- ENT Institute
Nowadays, when you or someone you know is sick, theres a level of concern about what it is, whether thats allergies, the common cold, the flu, a sinus infection, or COVID-19. There are distinct differences between each one that you should know so you can stay ahead of whats ailing you. For this blog, were focusing on allergies vs cold symptoms .
The differences between allergies and the common cold are subtle but can be spotted pretty quickly. The issue with either of these is that if ignored, they can turn into a dangerous sinus infection.
But lets start with allergy symptoms and go from there.
Three Key Differences Between A Cold And Allergies
Weve all struggled with a cold at one time or another. Its one of the most common viral infections of the nose and throat. In fact, adults can catch between two to five colds each year, and children catch even more.
But if sniffling, sneezing and coughing symptoms last for more than 7 days , you may actually have allergies. As you age, your immune system naturally weakens, which means your bodys response to allergens also weakens. As a result, your body could trigger an unexpected histamine or allergic reaction. Histamine is a chemical inside our bodys cells that helps start the process of removing allergens from your body.
So even if youve never had allergies before, its important to keep track of your symptoms and their duration so you can identify one of the key differences that set allergies apart from colds.
Read Also: Allergy Induced Sore Throat
It’s Probably Allergies If:
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. It’s 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 you’ll have the same symptoms day after day,” Benninger says.
You’ve 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.
Learn More About The Common Cold Vs Allergies From Your Baptist Health Doctor
If you tend to get colds at the same time every year but are now wondering if maybe you have allergies instead, your doctor can help you sort things out. Tests can be performed to determine if you have seasonal allergies or even whats called perennial hay fever a year-round allergy to indoor allergens.
If you dont have a Baptist Health doctor yet, you can find one using our online provider directory.
Next Steps and Useful Resources
Also Check: Which Allergy Medicine Works Fastest
How To Differentiate Between A Cold And An Allergy
Certain symptoms of a cold overlap with allergies, such as a runny or stuffy nose, and sneezing. Colds are distinctively accompanied by other general symptoms, such as low-grade fever, malaise, fatigue, and decreased appetite. It is also possible that your runny nose begins to produce thicker discharge that may look yellow or green in colour.
In addition, the symptoms that one generally experiences at the onset of a cold are more severe than those of an allergy. One might easily think of a friend, family member or colleague who passed on that cold to you. However, it is important to go see a health care practitioner if you start suffering from severe sinus pain, swollen glands or a high fever beyond 39 degrees Celsius that is accompanied by chills and extreme sweating.
Additionally, symptoms of allergies tend to last longer and have a recurrent pattern, correlating well with exposure to certain triggers . Always be on the lookout for certain patterns that easily help in differentiating colds from allergies. Having prominent itching in the nose, throat, and eyes and sudden sneeze fits every year during the same period indicate that youre suffering from an allergy as these symptoms are not always common with colds.
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: What’s Better For Allergies Claritin Or Zyrtec
Do You Know The Difference Between Cold And Allergy Symptoms Learn What To Look For In Each
Spring is in bloom, which usually means warmer temperatures, green grass, fresh flowers, andfun outdoors. Unfortunately for some of us, it also means allergens are in the air and sickness ison the way. Winter cold medicine takes a back shelf to spring antihistamines in the medicinecabinet. If you are one of the 50 million people affected by nasal allergies in the U.S., you mayhave a hard time determining if youre dealing with a cold or seasonal allergies. Here are a fewtips to help you tell the difference:
You could have these common symptoms with either a cold or seasonal allergies:
- Stuffy nose
The big difference is how you contract the two illnesses. Colds are caused by more than 100types of viruses, and you can catch them any time of the year. They usually come on quickly buttend to last only about three to 10 days. Look for these additional symptoms with a cold:
- Body aches and pains
- Sore throat
If the common symptoms tend to plague you only during certain times of the year, and thenlast longer than a couple of weeks, then youre more likely to be fighting seasonal allergies,according to Dr. James M. Steckelberg. With seasonal allergies, fever and body aches are almostnever present, but the following symptoms usually are:
- Itchy eyes
- Sore throat
Whether its a cold or allergies, Teladoc can help you start feeling better soon.
Need to access your account or request a visit?
What Are The Differences Between Cold Symptoms And Allergy Symptoms
Allergies are a response by your immune system to a foreign substance, such as a food, an insect bite or something in the air . Your immune system mistakenly identifies the substance as harmful to your body and tries to fight it off. A cold, on the other hand, is a viral infection of the respiratory system .
Symptoms of colds and of allergies can appear quite similar, and include runny nose, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion and cough. You may wonder how to know which malady you’re suffering from — and if you don’t know what you have, you don’t know how to treat it.
Here are some basic differences between cold symptoms and allergy symptoms:
- Allergies do not cause fevers. Colds do.
- Discharge from a runny nose caused by allergies is thin and colorless. With a cold it may be thick and yellow.
- Allergy symptoms begin immediately upon exposure to the allergen. Cold symptoms begin one to three days after you’re exposed to the cold virus.
- Allergy symptoms will persist until you’re no longer exposed to the allergens. A cold will go away after five to seven days.
- Allergies may also cause rashes, gastrointestinal distress and other symptoms that are not caused by a cold.
If you think you may have allergies, you should see an allergist and get tested to find out exactly what you are allergic to. The best way to get rid of allergy symptoms is to avoid contact with the allergen or allergens. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to help you with your symptoms.
You May Like: Cetirizine For Allergic Reaction
Cold Symptoms Vs Allergy Symptoms: Which One Is It
From a runny nose and sneezing to headaches and an itchy throat, cold symptoms and allergy symptoms can have significant overlap. So how do you know if youre suffering from a cold or flu virus or simply from seasonal allergies? First, it helps to know what causes allergies versus what causes the common cold.
Allergies are caused by an autoimmune response to foreign bodies, while the common cold is caused by a virus.An allergic reaction is a response of your bodys immune system to something that does not bother most other people like pollen, mold spores, dust mites and pet dander. Scientists think both genes and the environment have something to do with who will develop allergies and who will not.
Whats The Difference Between A Cold And Allergies
Are you frustrated that your cold just isnt going away, no matter how many home remedies you try? Well, it might not be a cold at all, but allergies instead.
Many people think that allergy season doesnt begin until well into spring, when trees are in full bloom and pollen is in the air. But in reality, allergy season starts much sooner when trees first begin to pollinate, usually in mid-February. So if you think youve just got a case of the winter sniffles, it may in fact be the start of seasonal allergies.
Recommended Reading: What’s Better For Allergies Claritin Or Zyrtec
Does Everyone With Covid Experience Similar Symptoms
COVID-19 can cause a wide range of symptoms. Some people have mild symptoms, while others have severe illness. People who are fully vaccinated and contract COVID are less likely to experience severe symptoms. Symptoms may occur at different times during the infection, and do not always overlap. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. For some, symptoms can last longer than this period.
What Are Colds And Allergies
They have different causes. You get a cold when a tiny living thing called a virus gets into your body. There are hundreds of different types that can get you sick.
Once a cold virus gets inside you, your immune system, the body’s defense against germs, launches a counter-attack. It’s this response that brings on the classic symptoms like a cough or stuffed up nose.
The viruses that cause colds are contagious. You can pick them up when someone who’s infected sneezes, coughs, or shakes hands with you. After a couple of weeks, at the most, your immune system fights off the illness and you should stop having symptoms.
It’s a different story with allergies. They’re caused by an overactive immune system. For some reason, your body mistakes harmless things, such as dust or pollen, for germs and mounts an attack on them.
When that happens, your body releases chemicals such as histamine, just as it does when fighting a cold. This can cause a swelling in the passageways of your nose, and you’ll start sneezing and coughing.
Don’t Miss: Dr Morosky Allergy
Whats The Difference Between Cold Flu And Allergies
The different illnesses that run rampant this time of year make any public space a danger zone. Dont touch the shopping cart, do sanitize your work space, and wash your hands often avoidance is key. But knowing what you, and those around you, are sick with can help you fight back and know your next steps.
The big offenders right now are the common cold, the flu, and environmental allergies, and many of the symptoms overlap, making it difficult to determine what youre sick with. Learn the differences below.