Allergies or a Cold: How to Tell the Difference

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Allergies or a Cold: How to Tell the Difference

05 Mar 2017

Have you ever had a runny nose or caught a sneezing fit one day, believing that your allergies were once again acting up? But after having those symptoms for a long period of time, have you ever then considered that there was a chance you might have gotten sick instead? You’re not alone. Common allergy symptoms and cold symptoms often overlap with one another, which makes it quite difficult for patients to decide what kind of treatment they need to relieve the symptoms. For that reason, here is a guide to help you determine whether these symptoms are signs of an allergy or the common cold!

Difference in Symptoms

Although many symptoms of the common cold and allergies tend to be similar, there are quite a few symptoms that clearly differentiate one from the other. For example, body aches and pains are never a symptom of an allergy; you’re more likely to experience these symptoms with a cold. The same goes for a fever.

Difference in When Symptoms Occur

Another way to tell the difference between an allergy and a cold is when the symptoms occur. Colds most often occur in the winter—during cold and flu season—although, they can develop at any time of the year. It usually takes a few days until a cold develops after infection.

Unlike colds, allergies can happen at any time, although for most people it’s more likely to occur when the seasons change. And when you’re exposed to an allergy trigger, symptoms happen almost immediately.

Difference in How Long Symptoms Last

In addition, how long symptoms stick around can also be a determining factor on whether or not you have a cold or allergy. Colds have the tendency to last a few days, and up to two weeks. Allergies, on the other hand, can last for a few days, up to months at a time—as long as you’re in contact with whatever may be causing your allergies to act up.

By having this knowledge in mind, you now have a better idea of how to tell the difference between an allergy or cold, and what type of treatment will be most effective for you. However, if you’re experiencing cold symptoms that last a bit longer than the standard 2 weeks with treatment, please stop by our urgent care center so we can assess your condition and provide you with the appropriate treatment.