Is it a Cold or Allergies?

Written by Amy Roper (last updated August 23, 2013)


If you find yourself going through boxes of tissues all of a sudden, you may be unsure about whether to treat your symptoms with cold or allergy medicine. While colds and allergies share many of the same common symptoms, and while many medications for both are interchangeable, it can be helpful to know for yourself which is which so you can best treat your condition, as well as keep from spreading germs to someone else if it really is a cold.

Whether it's that first sneeze or tickle in your throat, the symptoms begin. You will want to start by paying close attention to each of your symptoms. Some of the common symptoms that are shared by both allergies and colds such as fatigue, congestion, sore throat, and headache are very similar between a cold and allergies, but other symptoms are important to note:

  • Coughing. Coughing is much less likely to occur with allergies (unless you have asthma which can start by coughing). If you have a consistent cough, particularly if it's deep or if you cough up any mucus, it is more likely to be a cold.
  • Itchy eyes. Itchy eyes are commonly associated with allergies and almost never with a cold.
  • Blowing your nose. When you blow your nose, don't be so quick to throw out the tissue without first taking a look. If the mucus is clear, it is more likely to be allergies, while if it is any shade of yellow or green, it is likely to be a viral infection like a cold.
  • Timing. How long have you been experiencing the symptoms? If you have had them for ten days or less, it is likely you have a cold. If symptoms persist beyond this, it might be allergies, particularly seasonal. Many people experience allergy flare ups at the beginning of seasons, especially fall and spring, so you might consider the time of year as well. It is important to realize that children can suffer from allergies any time of the year.

If you'd like a more definitive answer, you can always see a doctor. They may give you a traditional scratch allergy test or blood test, or they may just ask about your symptoms; so either way, it's a good idea to keep track of those symptoms. Understanding can go a long way towards treatment.

Author Bio

Amy Roper


Getting a Good Night's Sleep

Extended periods of unhealthy sleep can have a serious impact on health. Tips for getting a good night's sleep fall into ...

Discover More

Avoiding the Flu

The flu is very common but can be a significant health concern at worst and an uncomfortable inconvenience at best. You ...

Discover More

Keeping an Emergency Flu Survival Kit

With the threat of serious flu outbreaks, you may desire additional peace of mind by being prepared with your own Flu ...

Discover More
More Health Tips

Dealing with a Laundry Detergent Allergy

A laundry detergent allergy can be difficult to deal with, but there are things you can do to cope. Here are some ideas ...

Discover More

Food Allergies

What are food allergies and why do they occur? You'll find the answers to those and other questions about this common ...

Discover More

Understanding Mold Allergies

Mold grows in any place that is damp, warm, and dark. It's no wonder allergies to it bloom all year round.

Discover More

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight minus 1?

2013-09-01 04:44:50

ashok kandu

i have allergy from cold or something like that.. I have sneezing in s.the cold days of winter.