Do I Have a Cold or Allergies?

While a cold and allergies share the same symptoms, they are very different conditions that come with different treatments. So, how do you know whether you have a cold or allergies? Keep reading to find out.

Allergies vs Cold

Allergies are the result of your immune system mistaking a substance that most people’s bodies find harmless as a threat. You may be allergic to an allergen such as pollen, mold, dust, or pet dander. A cold, on the other hand, arises when a virus enters your body. Your immune system responds to this virus by attacking it.

Questions to Ask Yourself to Figure Out if You Have Allergies or Colds

There are many similar symptoms of allergies and colds. These include a runny nose, stuffy nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. If you have a cold, however, you are more likely to experience a cough and sore throat. You are also more prone to aches and pains and thick mucus that is yellow or green in color.

How quickly did your symptoms hit you?

While allergy symptoms tend to appear all at once when you are near an allergen, cold symptoms usually appear slowly and develop over a few days.

How long have your symptoms persist?

Unlike allergy symptoms which typically last weeks or months, the symptoms of a cold are more temporary and subside within a week or a little longer. You should consult your doctor if your cold symptoms persist for more than 10 days.

What is your mucus like?

The color and texture of your mucus can help you uncover whether you have a cold or allergies. Your mucus will likely be clear and thin if you have allergies. If you have a cold, it’ll probably be thick and yellow or green in color from coughing.

What season is it?

Although colds are more common during the winter, they can arise any time of the year. Indoor allergies like pet dander can happen at any time as well while outdoor allergies are more likely to pop up in the spring and fall when pollen counts are higher.

If you believe you have allergies, it’s a good idea to see a doctor as soon as possible. They can design a customized treatment plan and help you find the relief you deserve.

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