Is it a Cold or Allergies?

This is the time of year you start to hear lots of sneezing and sniffles.  Allergy symptoms and cold symptoms are often very similar. However, it is important to determine the difference so you can properly treat the cold or allergy.

woman  allergy sneeze

Allergy Symptoms:

  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery, itchy eyes
  • Itchy nose and throat
  • Dry cough
  • Symptoms come on quickly when exposed to allergen
  • Symptoms could last for several weeks and do not away until allergen is gone

Allergy symptoms occur when the body reacts to an unwanted substance that is usually inhaled or ingested. If you are allergic to this substance, known as an allergen, your body produces histamine and other inflammation causing chemicals that cause a runny nose, congestion, sneezing and itchy eyes and nose. 

Allergy treatment begins with identifying and avoiding the offending allergen. This may require a trip to see an allergist and skin testing.Medications such as antihistamines and decongestants help to decrease the symptoms.  Immunotherapy  (also known as allergy injections or allergy drops) will alleviate the symptoms when avoidance or medications are not providing adequate relief. 

Woman with flu virus

Cold Symptoms:

  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery, itchy eyes
  • Fever
  • Body Aches
  • Sore throat
  • Wet, productive cough
  • Symptoms come on gradually and subside in 7 to 10 days

A cold is caused by transmission of a virus, the rhinovirus, from an infected person or object. This virus causes upper respiratory inflammation. 

Treatments for cold symptoms include acetaminophen or ibuprofen to alleviate the fever, sore throat and body aches.  Decongestants will relieve nasal congestion.  Drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of rest and gargle with warm salt water.

If you think your “cold” symptoms are really allergies, see the allergists at Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM.

Allergy & Asthma SpecialistsSM provides treatment for patients of all ages with allergies, asthma, rashes, congestion and recurrent infections. If you live in the greater King of Prussia or Philadelphia region and suffer from allergies or asthma, our board certified allergy doctors and immunologists can help. Call us at (800) 86-COUGH to schedule an appointment at one of our eight convenient locations. 

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