A Guide To Know If It Is Allergy Or A Cold

  • It is important to investigate if it is cold or allergy or else the treatment takes time and the condition gets worsen day by day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average healthy adult can catch two or three colds in a year. Younger ones or physically weaker people may get even more colds because of their low immune systems.


    Are you experiencing a runny nose and congestion? Or if someone is sneezing and coughing, the first thought which comes into our mind is that you have a cold. But, you can’t say that, as it could be an allergy too. By knowing the differences between colds and allergies, you can easily and quickly find the treatment.


    Overview of Cold


    A cold or common cold occurs due to a virus. There are different viruses which cause colds. The symptoms and severity associated with various symptoms vary but the basic characteristics of them are almost the same.


    Key features of the common cold


    • Symptoms- Sore throat and a runny, stuffy nose, with occasional coughing and sneezing.
    • More severe colds can also cause headaches, fevers, and body aches.
    • Colds are transmitted from a sick person when they cough or sneeze.
    • Recovery from a cold is almost quick.
    • People with allergies may be more prone to catching colds.

    One can catch a “cold” during any time of the year, not necessarily in winter only.


    Overview of allergies


    Allergies are caught when your immune system has reacted in an unusual way to certain substances. When you’re exposed to the allergen or an allergy trigger, your immune system discharges chemicals known as histamines. This histamine release causes allergy symptoms.


    Similarity between Allergies and colds include:

    • runny nose
    • nasal congestion
    • sneezing
    • coughing
    • sore throat
    • watery eyes


    Every year, typically over 50 million Americans get allergies. Common triggers include the tree, grass, and weed pollen. Apart from them, there may be other allergy triggers too such as:

    • dust mites
    • animal dander or salivae, such as from a cat or dog
    • mould
    • foods, such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, and eggs


    Colds vs. allergies: How to tell the difference

    The difference in symptoms include allergies may cause rashes and itchy eyes but the common cold does not.

    Since colds and allergies have many of the same symptoms, it may be difficult to tell the two conditions apart.


    Colds generally cause:

    • fatigue
    • aches and pains
    • sore throat
    • fever


    Whereas, allergies generally cause:

    • itchy eyes
    • wheezing
    • hives


    Time of the year/ season

    The time of year will give a fair idea about the cause of your symptoms. As people are more likely to catch a cold during the fall and winter months. Pollen allergies can trigger during the spring months. Grass allergies are highest in late spring through summer, while ragweed allergies occur during late summer and fall.


    Duration of symptoms

    How long the symptoms persist also works as the deciding factor to tell whether it is allergy or cold. Colds usually get better within a week or so. Allergies won’t go away unless you get treated or remove the trigger.