April 23, 2019

One of Life’s Great Mysteries – Is It Allergies or a Cold?

Woman sneezing outdoors in the springtime

Anytime you venture out and about this time of year, a symphony of sneezes, coughs, and sniffles will undoubtedly ring in your ears. It may be you who feels like you cannot shake these unpleasant symptoms. Is it a cold? Could seasonal allergies be the culprit? Distinguishing between them can prove downright baffling.

Colds and allergies often involve some identical symptoms including runny nose, congestion, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, and watery eyes. However, if fever or body aches have you down and out, a cold is likely to blame. Allergies typically do not cause either of these issues. Itchy nose or eyes, on the other hand, may indicate that your body is battling an allergen.

Doctors have debunked the myth that the color of your mucus corresponds to a cold or allergies. Allergies can cause any color nasal discharge – not just clear, and a cold does not necessarily mean your mucus will be yellow or green.

Keep your surroundings in mind when trying to determine what you are facing. Do you have sick co-workers or children sneezing in your direction? Likely a cold. Do your symptoms seem to worsen when you’re outdoors? That could indicate seasonal allergies.

Even if you rule out allergies, you may wonder if you have the flu instead of a cold. The flu typically comes on fast and furious, leaving your head spinning (and possibly aching!). With the flu, fever tends to be higher (above 101), and body aches are often worse. Nausea can accompany the flu, increasing the level of misery.

Cold symptoms should improve within seven to ten days. Allergies tend to linger for prolonged periods of time. If you cannot shake your symptoms after ten days, things get markedly worse, or breathing issues crop up, you should see a doctor. Your cold could have turned into an infection that may require a prescription. If allergies are at fault, we can help you identify your allergy triggers and prepare an individualized treatment plan to get you back on your feet, minus the Kleenex.