Is it Allergies or a Cold?


Allergies and colds often have similar symptoms, and it can be challenging to tell them apart. Lifestyle remedies such as drinking plenty of water can help you cope with a cold; however, if you suffer from allergies, you should see an allergy doctor. Use the following tips to distinguish between colds and allergies, and schedule an appointment with an allergy specialist.

Pollen in full bloom

Types of Symptoms

These two conditions often share symptoms, including coughing, sore throat, and fatigue. A runny or stuffy nose is another shared symptom; however, colds typically involve yellow mucus while allergies involve clear mucus. Colds rarely cause itchy, watery eyes, while allergies often do. Allergies never result in muscle aches and pains, while colds may on occasion.

Onset of Symptoms

The symptoms of a cold typically appear a few days after you’re infected. If you notice people at work or school who are developing the same symptoms you have, it’s probably a cold and not allergies. On the other hand, symptoms of allergies appear suddenly after exposure to an allergy trigger. If you have seasonal allergies, you’ll notice the same symptoms around the same time every year.

Duration of Symptoms

The symptoms of a cold can last as few as three days or as many as 14 days. If you have an allergy, you’ll continue experiencing symptoms for as long as you’re exposed to the allergen, or until you seek treatment from an allergy doctor.

Treatment of Symptoms

If you have a cold, you’ll have to wait for it to run its course. Lifestyle remedies such as eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of fluids can support your immune system to a certain extent. If you have allergies, your doctor might recommend antihistamines, decongestants, or immunotherapy.

Board certified allergists/immunologists comprise the entire physician staff of Allergy & Asthma Specialists.  Allergy doctors at this premier medical practice provide comprehensive allergy and asthma diagnostics and state of the art treatment, including two types of immunotherapy, at offices located in center city Philadelphia, Blue Bell, King of Prussia, Jenkintown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, and Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Schedule today online at or by calling 1-800-86COUGH.