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What’s The Difference Between Cold And Allergy Symptoms

Difference Between Cold And Allergy Symptoms

Allergist explains the difference between allergy, flu, coronavirus symptoms | Extended Interview

July 13, 2011 Posted by Dr.Dinusha

Cold vs Allergy Symptoms

Every person experiences the runny nose, watery eyes, difficulty in breathing, and feeling of ill health at least once in your life. Children sometimes welcome it as it is a way to skip school, and adults usually hate it because it puts a wrinkle in their best laid plans. But what is it that limits us to our beds with hot fluids to be taken constantly. This may either be a cold or an allergy causing rhinitis, thus allergic rhinitis. A cold is usually caused by a virus, out of the thousands of usual suspects, and our immune system attacks the virus, and it results in the symptoms of cold. Allergic rhinitis is the result of our own immune system becoming highly sensitive, and overactive against a non contagious, non infective particle, causing the release of chemicals from the body resulting in swelling of the air passages, irritation on the mucosal surfaces etc.

Cold Symptoms

The symptoms usually start after a couple of days of exposure to the infective organism. The cold, which last for less than 1-2 weeks, are associated with, cough , aches and pains, runny nose , mild fever, sore throat, and on occasion with itchy eyes.

Allergy Symptoms

What is the difference between Cold and Allergy Symptoms?

Allergies Rarely Cause Sore Throats Or Body Aches

The only ache you may feel with allergies is a headache from all that congestion. Your throat may also feel dry or scratching. But if youre experiencing a sore throat or mild body aches, theyre more likely a sign of a bad cold.

Can allergies cause chills? No. If you have chills, its more likely you have a cold, the flu or another infection .

How To Treat Allergies

Allergy treatment aims to mitigate your response to the allergen and reduce your symptoms. The best allergy “treatment” is to avoid what causes your allergies in the first place. However, this is not always possible. In those instances, there are two types of allergy treatments that can help ease your symptoms: medications and immunotherapy.

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How Do Allergies Develop

Did you know? In most cases, the part of the body the allergen touches affects what symptoms you develop. For example:Allergens that you breathe in often cause a stuffy nose, itchy nose and throat, mucus production, cough, or wheezing.Allergens that touch the eyes may cause itchy, watery, red, swollen eyes.

Colds And Allergies: Whats The Difference

How can you tell if it

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.

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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.

What Are The Symptoms Of Allergies Vs Colds

Because there is so much overlap between the symptoms of the common cold and flu versus those of seasonal allergies, here is a table to help you determine which youre suffering from:

Sometimes Rarely

Check your symptoms against those above. Then use the chart to determine where you stand. If youre suffering from an itchy throat, for example, it may be an allergy cough rather than a cough caused by a cold. If you have a headache that you can feel in your sinuses, it may be an allergy headache.

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What’s The Difference Between A Cold And Allergies

When exposed to certain particles such as animal dander, pollen, trees and grasses children may have an allergic response. This occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens, triggering the release of histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream.

This response causes common allergy symptoms, including:

  • Itchy, watery eyes

How Is Each Condition Diagnosed

Spotting the Differences Between the Common Cold, Influenza and COVID-19

A common cold can usually be diagnosed with a standard physical examination and a review of symptoms. Your doctor may perform a rhinoscopy if they suspect a sinus infection.

During a rhinoscopy, your doctor will insert an endoscope gently into your nose and sinus cavity so they can look at the lining of your sinuses. An endoscope is a thin tube that has a light at one end and either has a camera or an eyepiece to look through.

If your doctor thinks an allergy is causing your sinus inflammation, they may recommend an allergy skin test to help identify the allergen causing your symptoms.

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How To Treat A Cold

Treatment for a cold is aimed at easing your symptoms as your body, over time, naturally gets rid of the cold virus. Self-care includes getting enough liquids to prevent dehydration, rest, and using a humidifier.

Although over-the-counter medications cannot make your cold go away, they can relieve your symptoms and help you feel better while it runs its course.

  • To lower fever and provide pain relief, you can use medications like Tylenol and Advil .
  • Antihistamines, though more commonly associated with allergy treatment, can help relieve a runny nose and watery eyes related to a cold.
  • can ease sinus congestion and a stuffy nose.
  • Expectorants thin mucus so you can clear your respiratory passages easier.

Multi-symptom cold formulas combine two or more of these medications.

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?


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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.

How To Treat A Cold Vs A Sinus Infection

Is It A Cold Or Is It The Flu?  One Aid

Theres no medication cure or vaccine for the common cold. Instead, treatment should focus on managing symptoms.

Congestion can often be relieved by using a saline spray in each nostril a couple of times a day. A nasal decongestant, such as oxymetazoline , may also be helpful. But you shouldnt use it for more than three days.

If you have a headache, or body aches and pains, you may take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief.

For a sinus infection, saline or decongestant nasal spray may help with congestion. You may also be prescribed a corticosteroid, usually in a nasal spray form. A pill form may be necessary in certain cases in order to help reduce severely inflamed sinuses.

If your doctor thinks you may have a bacterial infection, you may be prescribed a course of antibiotic therapy. This should be taken exactly as prescribed and for the duration recommended by your doctor.

Stopping a course of antibiotics too soon can allow an infection to linger and for symptoms to develop again.

For both a sinus infection and a common cold, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.

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You Notice A Seasonal Pattern

If youre the type of person who swears they get the same cold every March, it might be time to reconsider. If you notice its seasonal like clockwork, and every spring or fall you get these symptoms, it might be allergy-related, Dr. Parikh says.

That holds true even if your seasonal symptoms occur earlier than you might think of as allergy season, Dr. Rosenstreich says. In the Northeast, for example, most people are not aware of the fact that the trees begin to pollinate even when theres still snow on the ground. Depending on the weather, people can have allergy symptoms in February.

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Talk With A Doctor Or Clinician To Create A Personalized Treatment Plan

If you arent sure if its a cold or allergies, or if your symptoms are severe or long-lasting, its best to connect with a care provider to get an official diagnosis and treatment plan.

If your allergy symptoms are left untreated, you could become more prone to getting sinus infections or other upper respiratory infections, or may lead to poor asthma control.

Also, a common cold can turn severe. So, if your cold has had you laid up longer than a day or two, get in touch with your doctor.

You have a couple options:

Make an appointment for face-to-face care from a primary care doctor or clinician. Whether you choose a video visit or in-person appointment, your doctor will listen to your symptoms, answer questions and work with you to create a tailored treatment plan including connecting you with an allergist or an otolaryngologist if needed.

Start a virtual visit anytime, anyplace through Virtuwell.;With;Virtuwell, no appointment is necessary and treatment is available 24/7. Getting started is easy. Well ask you a few questions, and youll get your diagnosis and treatment plan from a board-certified nurse practitioner. Each visit is just $59 or less, depending on your insurance.

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Allergies Do Not Cause Fevers

People often wonder if allergies can cause a fever. The answer is no. Allergies cannot cause a fever, though you could have an allergy flare at the same time youre experiencing a fever from another infection.

With a cold, your temperature can run warmer, but typically it will be less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cold Or Allergies: What Is The Difference

Are you having a Cold , Flu, Allergy or Covid-19? | How to tell the difference?

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Winter is starting to slide away and with the onset of spring, comes the start of the sneezes. Your head is full of mucus, youre sneezing and maybe have some watery eyes.

Its a spring cold, and it sucks. Or, maybe its allergies. The symptoms are similar, and this time of year is the start of allergy season. So which is it, a cold or allergies?

Were going to take a look at cold vs allergy, the differences and similarities between them, and the different treatment methods of colds and allergies.

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Notice What Time Of Year It Is

A common allergy for many is hay fever, which is an allergy to plant pollen. It will usually strike from February through June when blooming plants distribute their pollen. But the exact timing can vary depending on when plants bloom and release pollen. To suss out if the pollen counts are high where you live, check out the pollen map on the National Allergy Bureau website.

If sniffles hit during the wintertime and particularly if people around you have similar symptoms odds are you have a cold or the flu, not allergies, Arthur says.

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:

  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • 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
  • Fever

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
  • Rash
  • 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?

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A Pediatrician Shares Eight Ways To Tell The Difference Between A Cold And Allergies

If your child seems to constantly have a runny nose, cough or congestion, you are not alone.

“It’s not unusual for kids to get six to eight colds per year, lasting from 10-14 days,” explains Michael Lee, M.D., a pediatrician with Children’s Health. “Additionally, seasonal allergies have become more prevalent.”

So how can parents tell if it’s a cold or allergies? Dr. Lee explains the difference between causes and symptoms in kids.

Related podcast

Learn more about how to help a child with seasonal allergies by listening to the Children’s Health Checkup podcast.

Keep Track Of How Long You’ve Felt Symptoms

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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.;

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Can I Prevent Myself From Getting Allergy Symptoms

In terms of preventing allergic reactions, the first step is to find out what youre allergic to. Doctors who specialize in allergy and immunology can help patients discover what might be causing their specific allergies with skin, patch, and blood tests. For example, sometimes its difficult to know if your allergy trigger is pollen, pets, mold spores, or a combination of different triggers. Once you have an understanding of your allergy trigger, its best to avoid contact with them as much as possible. Depending on the category of allergy that you have, you may want to try the following:

Ways To Manage Seasonal Allergies At Home

  • Have your child wear a hat and sunglasses to prevent pollen from getting in their eyes.
  • Remove your childs clothes as soon as they come indoors and wash them to remove allergens.
  • Leave shoes at the door so your family doesnt track allergens through your home.
  • Wash your childs hands and face as soon as they come in from the outdoors.;

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