Symptoms of allergies and colds can be strikingly similar, depending on what you are feeling. They both affect millions of people each year, so there may be a time when you ask yourself if you are experiencing a cold or allergies. Allergies affect more than fifty million Americans each year. Adults in the United States average about two to four colds per year. It’s important to know whether you have a cold or are suffering from allergies as the treatments can vary. Knowing exactly what you have can help you treat your symptoms faster and more effectively.
Symptoms of Allergies
Allergies arise when your immune system has a negative reaction to certain substances. Seasonal allergies can be caused by several different things, including trees, grass, and weed pollen. However, some people experience allergies year-round. Year-round allergies can be caused by anything from dust mites, animal dander, mold, or even certain foods. When you are exposed to the substance that your immune system doesn’t agree with, it will release chemicals called histamines. When histamines are released, they trigger your allergy symptoms. Below you will find some of the symptoms associated with allergies.
- Sore throat
- Watery eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy eyes
Symptoms of a Cold
Unlike allergies, a cold is caused by a virus. Some colds are more severe than others and can be caused by several different viruses. Colds are contagious and transmitted through droplets that pass through a sick person’s cough or sneeze. The average cold lasts around seven to ten days and, despite the name, can be caught anytime throughout the year.
While there are different types and severities of colds, they have a lot of similar symptoms. Symptoms shouldn’t last more than ten days, so you may need medical attention as the virus can lead to a more serious infection. Below you will find the common symptoms of a cold.
- Runny nose (clear and watery)
- Sneezing and coughing (which can lead to a sore throat)
- Severe colds can cause headaches, fever, and body aches.
Do You Have a Cold or Allergies?
While the symptoms listed may seem similar, there are factors that can help you determine if you have a cold or allergies. One of the best ways to determine this is to look at the symptoms that the two don’t share. For example, you will likely experience fatigue, aches and pains, sore throat, and fever with a cold. On the contrary, you will likely experience itchy eyes, skin rashes, and hives with your allergies.
Duration is also a great indicator of whether or not you have a cold or allergies. A cold usually lasts one to two weeks. Head to the doctor after two weeks if you are still sick and discuss the issue. You may have a more serious infection, or it may be allergies. Time helps determine if your symptoms are allergies and here to stay.
Timing can also clue you in to whether you have a cold or allergies. Most of the time, you will experience a cold during the fall and winter. While you can catch a cold all year, this is the most common time people get sick. Allergies, specifically seasonal allergies, will usually occur in the spring due to pollen.
Allergy Specialist in New York
If you are experiencing symptoms that you think are caused by allergies, contact allergy specialist Dr. Shukla for help. He is experienced in addressing a number of allergies and providing effective treatment options. Contact Dr. Shukla and his team for medical advice and assistance on what your next steps should be.