Feeling sniffly? Can’t stop sneezing? You may have a cold. However, it may also be an allergy. Knowing whether you have a cold or an allergy is important for choosing the right treatment. Fortunately, while both a cold and an allergy share certain symptoms, there are certain differences between them that can help you identify which one you have. Read on to discover a few questions that you can ask yourself to determine if you're experiencing a cold or an allergic reaction.
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What time of year is it?
Colds are less common in summer, just as allergies like hayfever are less common in winter. This is the first thing to consider if you are feeling sniffly in either summer or winter. Just be wary that while colds are less common in summer, you can still catch them. Particularly if you're stressed or have just traveled to another country. Allergies meanwhile are not always caused by pollen and therefore may not always be seasonal.
Do you have a cough?
A cough is more likely to be a symptom of a cold than an allergy. But allergies can also cause coughs in some cases. If you do get a cough as a symptom of an allergy, it's more likely to be a dry itchy cough. A wet phlegmy cough is more likely to be a cold.
Do you have a sore throat?
Allergies rarely cause a sore throat. This is much more likely to be a symptom of a cold. Of course, prolonged exposure to allergens can cause trouble breathing and coughing, which can lead to a sore throat. But your tonsils are unlikely to be affected by an allergy, so if you have tonsillitis, it's more likely to be the result of a cold or bacterial infection.
Do you have itchy eyes?
Itchy eyes almost never accompany a cold. This is much more likely to be caused by an allergic reaction to something like pollen, mold, pet dander or dust. Of course, not all allergies cause itchy eyes, but if you have this symptom, you can usually rule out a cold.
Are you tired and achy?
Allergic reactions typically don't leave your body feeling tired and achy. So unless you've been exposed to allergens for a long period of time, which can leave you feeling worn down and sore, you most likely have a cold if you're feeling this way.
When are symptoms at their worst?
Cold symptoms tend to be worse at night for most people. Some people find that symptoms may temporarily improve when you're moving around and active, but this is not always the case. Allergies like hayfever are worse in the evening and the morning when pollen levels are highest. Pet allergies are likely to display constant symptoms in any building where a pet is constantly shedding hair, but these symptoms often improve when you're out of the house and away from the pet. You can visit this website to learn more about pet allergies.
Have you tried antihistamines?Antihistamines will often noticeably reduce allergic reaction symptoms, especially if they're good quality antihistamines. They're unlikely to have much impact against a cold, but they do help alleviate a runny nose for some people. It's worth a try to take antihistamines to see if they help your symptoms. They won't hurt you, and they might help you figure out whether you're dealing with an allergy or a cold.
This is a contributed post.