How to Tell the Difference Between Having a Cold and Suffering from Allergies


Unfortunately, millions of Americans suffer from various types of allergies and colds every single year. Treatment for either can be difficult because the initial symptoms for allergies and a cold often appear to be identical, with many opting to delay treatment because they’re not sure what’s causing their symptoms. However, there are ways to tell allergies apart from cold symptoms if you know what to look for. Knowing the which symptoms belong to which illness can mean the difference between visiting the allergy and asthma clinic and going to see your regular doctor. This article will provide a basic overview of the differences between cold symptoms and allergy symptoms.

  • Duration of Symptoms: One of the biggest differences between cold and allergy symptoms is how long they last. Barring any complications, cold symptoms will run their course in around seven days, sometimes as many as ten. Allergy symptoms, by comparison, can last for several weeks at a time without any respite. Therefore, if you’ve been suffering from symptoms for well over two weeks, then you should probably go to an allergy and asthma clinic to be seen for your symptoms.
  • Fever, or the Lack Thereof: Another difference between allergy and cold symptoms is a fever, or the absence of one. No matter how bad they make you feel, allergies will not cause a fever because they’re caused by an allergic reaction and not a virus. Cold symptoms, however, can in some cases include a fever because the body is reacting to the presence of a cold virus and trying to eliminate it.
  • Only Allergies Have Itchy, Watery Eyes: One difference between symptoms that can let you know if you’re suffering from allergies instead of a cold is that only allergies cause your eyes to feel itchy and watery. While both allergies and colds can cause nasal congestion, only allergies affect the eyes. So if your eyes begin to itch and water, you are definitely suffering from allergies and should probably visit an allergy clinic to be treated.
  • Body Aches: Another difference between allergies and colds is that only colds will cause body aches. Allergies can make you feel awful, but they will not cause body aches to develop, whereas colds will. So if you’re feeling congested and your feeling the body aches, you likely have a cold and need to see your regular doctor.

In conclusion, there are a number of differences between cold and allergy symptoms that you need to know so you can tell which you are suffering from. Knowing these symptoms can mean the difference between going to the allergy and asthma clinic or going to see your regular doctor to be treated. These differences include duration of symptoms, with allergy symptoms lasting longer, fever, which is exclusive to colds, only allergies cause itchy and watery eyes, and body aches, which are only caused by colds. These are the major differences between allergies and colds and hopefully this will help you remember how allergy and colds are different from each other.

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