How to Know the Difference between Seasonal Allergies vs. the Common Cold

October is here, and with it the first breaths of winter in Colorado. Though the corn may still be standing, practically every other growing thing in your garden was probably bitten by the frost a few weeks back. And with winter comes cold season, although many of us are still suffering from fall allergies.

So the question is: how do you tell the difference? What are the keys to distinguishing your allergies from a cold?

Nose Symptoms Are Common to Both

If you have a stuffy nose, sneezing, or a runny nose, it’s probably equally likely you have either a cold or allergies. These symptoms are common to both.

But you can tell the difference, sometimes. Next time you blow your nose, look in the tissue (gross, I know, but it’s for your health). If the mucous is yellowy and thick, it’s more likely that you have a cold, but if it’s clear and runny, you more likely have allergies.

Eye Symptoms Indicate Allergies

If you have red, itchy, watery eyes, it’s likely that you have allergies. Your allergic response is likely to trigger irritation of the eyes, but cold viruses rarely cause eye-related symptoms.

A Sore Throat Indicates a Cold

On the other hand, a cold is more likely to give you a sore throat. This can sometimes happen with an allergy, especially if you suffer from a postnasal drip, but most of the time, it’s a sign that you have a cold.

Wait and See

If you’re not sure about the difference, you can always wait and see if it goes away. Most colds last a few days up to a couple weeks. Allergies stick around much longer, sometimes 6 weeks.

What about Flu?

Flu (influenza) shares many of the same symptoms with a cold, but it is more likely to be accompanied by a fever and general muscle aches and pains.

Not sure what’s bothering you? Dr. Andy Fine in Littleton can help you figure out your symptoms and find the best treatment to help you feel better sooner. Please contact us today for an appointment.

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