How do you know if you have a cold or are experiencing symptoms of allergies?
No one likes to have a runny nose, itching eyes, or a sore throat. These symptoms can be an indication of a common cold, or it could mean that you have allergies. It is quite possible for people to develop seasonal allergies later in life; allergies do not only develop during childhood or adolescence.
For this reason, many people’s allergies aren’t managed in the most constructive manner because they think that they are experiencing a cold. In order to find relief from you symptoms, you need to first diagnose your condition. It would be wise to consult with your doctor on this, as they will be able to give you the most in-depth information on what you may or may not be suffering from.
Similarities Between Allergies and the Common Cold
There are quite a few symptoms that overlap for both colds and allergies. Both of these conditions typically include:
- Runny nose/congested sinuses
- Sore throat
- Seasonal reactions
Main Differences of Allergies when Compared to Colds
There are a few key indicators that you should look to determine if you are allergic to something in your environment or if you have caught a cold virus. The differences between a cold and allergies include:
If you have a fever, it’s likely that you have a virus. Fever’s hardly ever accompanies seasonal allergies.
A cold typically lasts about 5-10 days. Allergies on the other hand, can sometimes last for months, or for as long as you have contact with the substance your body rejects with an allergic reaction. If your “cold” lingers on for months, you may actually have allergies.
- Aches and Pains:
Although it is more common to have itchy eyes when suffering from allergies, the aches associated with colds is not an allergy symptom.
- Reaction Time:
This particular indicator is much more difficult to determine. An allergic response can happen immediately upon contact with an allergen, such as pollen or dust, but a virus takes much longer to show any symptoms. If you begin sneezing as soon as you go outside on a spring day, it could be allergies. If you develop a runny nose with seemingly no exposure to possible allergens, it could be a cold. Try to pay close attention as to when you begin to show symptoms.
For people who are unused to allergies, preventing an allergic reaction may be a new experience. The first step when trying to make yourself feel better is to remove yourself from the presence of the substance that causes the allergic reaction in the first place. This could take some educated guesswork. Some of the most common causes of allergies include:
- Plant pollen
- Animal dander
- Mold and mildew
Removing these from your home with the help of an air filter can give you relief while indoors, although you may need to seek a pharmaceutical solution when venturing outside.
Staying Healthy Through Cold Season
Preventing colds is much more about common sense cleanliness. It is impossible to keep yourself away from all cold-causing germs, but you can be proactive about your health by washing your hands before eating and minimizing contact with people who are contagious. You should be careful about washing your hand too often or habitually using anti-bacterial hand sanitizer as it could actually make your immune system a little weaker and allow germs and viruses to enter into your system. Always try to use soap when washing your hands and limit the amount of contact you have with your face and mouth.
Keep Your Germs Contained
When coughing, cover your mouth with your elbow or sleeve, not your hand. If you have plans to be around friends, wear a mask, or consider cancelling. No one likes to be sick, which means that you should protect your friends from catching your cold. You may be a little bored for a few evenings, but your friends will thank you for it.
Chronic Coughing or Sinus Issues
If you have done all that you can do and you still have irritating cold or allergy symptoms, you may need to seek medical assistance. A persistent illness could be an indicator of a more serious condition. You may need to make changes to your living arrangements, be prescribed a particular medicine, or remove specific foods from your diet. Getting help from a medical professional is always an excellent step, even when you think you know what your symptoms point to. A doctor could have valuable advice and help you kick your cold or allergies out of your life.