Do You Have Seasonal Allergies or a Cold?
Do You Have Seasonal Allergies or a Cold?

Seasonal allergies and the common cold share similar symptoms; however, the symptoms stem form different causes. A common cold is your body’s defense against a virus while allergies are caused by an overactive immune system when stimulated by dust or pollen. To determine the proper treatment, you must distinguish the cause of your symptoms. Follow the chart below to tell the difference between a common cold and allergies, and use our treatment tips to alleviate your symptoms.

Symptoms Cold Airborne Allergy
Cough Common Sometimes
General Aches, Pains Slight Never
Fatigue, Weakness Sometimes Sometimes
Itchy Eyes Rare or Never Common
Sneezing Usual Usual
Sore Throat Common Sometimes
Runny Nose Common Common
Stuffy Nose Common Common
Fever Rare Never
General knowledge Cold Airborne Allergy
Duration 3 to 14 Days Weeks (for example, 6 weeks for ragweed or grass pollen seasons)
Treatment Antihistamines, Decongest-ants, Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medicines Antihistamines, Nasal Ster-oids, Decongestants
Prevention Wash your hands often with soap and water. Avoid close contact with anyone with a cold. Avoid things that you are allergic to such as pollen, house dust mites, mold and pet dander.
Complications Sinus Infection, Middle Ear Infection, Asthma Sinus Infection, Asthma

*Credit: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases