Is It a Cold or an Allergy?

If you’re suffering from a runny nose, a stuffy nose or sneezing, you might be wondering whether the symptoms plaguing you stem from a cold or allergies. Although the two have similarities, there are also some clear differences between these ailments that can make you feel tired and miserable.

A cold generally lasts from three days to two weeks, a much shorter time than seasonal allergies would affect you.

Dr. Joseph Allen, Family Medicine of Vandalia, says, “The easiest way to tell the difference is probably fever. If you have a fever, it’s likely a cold, whether it’s viral or bacterial.” Dr. Allen discusses the differences between allergies and respiratory illnesses, such as colds.

Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

How can a person tell the difference between allergies and a cold?

Well, there are several ways to tell the difference between allergy and cold. The easiest way, is a cold generally is associated with a fever and allergies generally are not. A lot of the symptoms will be the same. You’re talking about nasal congestion and sore throats and such like that. Watery eyes. They can run between both of those. Obviously the treatments would be different, but the easiest way to tell the difference is probably fever. If you have a fever, it’s likely a cold, whether it’s viral or bacterial. If you do not have a fever, it could be allergies.

 

In addition to a runny or stuffy nose, cold symptoms often include a sore throat, cough and sometimes achiness and watery eyes. Occasionally a fever also accompanies a cold, says the National Institutes of Health. A cold generally lasts from three days to two weeks, a much shorter time than seasonal allergies would affect you.

Treatment for colds generally includes getting rest and drinking plenty of fluids. Colds are contagious, so the best way to prevent them is to wash your hands frequently and avoid close contact with someone who has a cold.

Is It A Cold Or Allergies - In ContentAllergies are more likely to cause itchy eyes and nose. Discharge from your nose is generally clear and any soreness in your throat is most likely from drainage. Allergies last for weeks at a time, triggered by pollens or other allergens in the air. Staying indoors more frequently during heavy allergy season, changing your air conditioner filter monthly, and taking decongestants or antihistamines recommended by your doctor all are ways to lessen allergy misery.

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