Is it Allergies or a Cold?

Posted on September 18, 2020

Category: Signs and Symptoms

Have you ever woken up day after day with the sniffles and wondered what’s going on? It’s a common problem. For some people, it feels like they’ve got a perpetual cold almost all the time. Now that the actual cold season is here, it can be hard to differentiate whether you’re struck with a cold or are dealing with seasonal allergies. How can you tell — and what’s the right remedy? Even though the common cold and seasonal allergies are similar, armed with the abundance of wisdom you’re about to take away from this article, you will become a master at discerning and identifying the agitator that ails you.

The Similarities

All right: first thing’s first. Colds and allergies produce many of the same symptoms – this is why they are often misdiagnosed. Sneezing, runny noses, itchy eyes, and fatigue are all symptoms of the common cold and allergies. The duration of these shared symptoms is a great indicator. If you’re symptoms last for a few days up to a few weeks, you’re probably plagued with a cold. Allergies, on the other hand, can last for months and whole seasons as long as one is exposed to their allergens.

Got a Cold?

Let’s take a deeper look at the common cold. Viruses are the cause of colds. If you’re the typical person, you can expect two or three bouts each year with a garden-variety virus that makes you feel rotten: Aches, coughs, a sore throat and headaches are often strong indicators of a cold and aren’t symptoms of allergies. Cold viruses enter your body through your mouth, nose or eyes and are often spread through the air when someone sick coughs or sneezes. If you’re in close contact with someone who is sick and you begin to share their symptoms, you’re probably dealing with a cold. Always take note of specific symptoms if you’re feeling under the weather so you don’t waste your time or money on the wrong remedy.

Struck with Seasonal Allergies?

Allergy symptoms occur when an immune system overreacts to an allergen. Allergens are typically harmless to most people. The most common allergens are pollen, dust mites, mold, specific foods and animal dander. For example, if you’re in close contact with pollen, animal dander and dust mites and have symptoms you may be struck with allergies: your immune system “snaps” from overexposure to the offending allergen and goes a little overboard: your eyes itch and you can’t stop sneezing.

Cold Treatment

We’ve all heard the old-time home remedies about colds— and some of them are true. Be sure to get plenty of hydration and rest. Over the counter medications like decongestants,

antihistamines and pain relievers will help alleviate symptoms but won’t shorten a colds duration. Prevention is truly your best treatment when dealing with a cold. Stay away from those infected with a cold and be sure to always wash your hands.

Allergy Treatment

To calm the immune-system response, treatment of seasonal allergies usually includes over- the-counter antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays or decongestants. Eliminating the allergen from the equation will help you. Changing the air filter in your furnace/air conditioner makes a difference, too. Again, prevention is always a safe bet. Avoid possible allergens whenever you can.