Is it a Cold, or Is it Allergies?

Colds and allergies share some of the same symptoms, so how can you tell which one you or your child is dealing with?

Common Symptoms

Both colds and allergies can cause runny noses, sneezing and congestion. Coughs and sore throats are usually associated with a cold, but post-nasal drip can also cause these symptoms in people who have hay fever.

Seasonal Allergies vs. Colds

The biggest difference between the common cold and seasonal allergies is how long your symptoms last, and how frequently you have them. If it’s a cold, the symptoms will usually last from three days up to two weeks. Allergy symptoms, on the other hand, last for as long as the pollen or other allergen is around. In most cases, this means several weeks.

If your symptoms tend to happen around the same time of year, usually spring through fall, you could be suffering from seasonal allergies. Colds typically happen during the winter months, and symptoms don’t show up until several days after you’ve been exposed to the germs. If you have allergies, your stuffy nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes will start up as soon as you’ve been exposed to pollen.

Colds often cause muscle or body aches, and even a fever, but allergies usually do not. Itchy eyes are a common symptom of seasonal allergies, but are rarely experienced with colds. Nasal discharge is usually clear in allergy sufferers, but people with colds or sinus infections usually have yellow or green mucus or discharge.

It can be especially difficult to tell if a child has a cold or allergies, so watch for frequent nose wiping. Kids tend to use their palms to wipe up on the end of their nose to relieve the itch, so you may even notice a little crease across the bridge of your child’s nose.

If your allergies are getting the best of you, or you think your cold may have turned into a sinus infection, visit a Twin Rivers Urgent Care clinic for fast relief.