Do You Have A Cold The Flu Or Allergies
The above table details the symptom differences between all three conditions.
The common symptoms of a cold, flu and allergies are a stuffy or a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, a cough, a headache, or even fatigue. Two differing symptoms are a fever or aches/pain, these would not be caused by allergies, but could be due to a cold or the flu. Symptoms of the flu are often more severe than a cold.
While the symptoms are similar, the origin of the conditions are different. A cold and the flu are both caused by different viruses, whereas allergies are caused by your immune system reacting to a trigger. Common inhalant allergy triggers are pollen, dust, mold, pet dander.
See related: Is it a cold? Or is it Allergies?
How To Treat Allergies
Allergy treatment aims to mitigate your response to the allergen and reduce your symptoms. The best allergy “treatment” is to avoid what causes your allergies in the first place. However, this is not always possible. In those instances, there are two types of allergy treatments that can help ease your symptoms: medications and immunotherapy.
Skin Testing Can Help
Its not always easy to tell the difference between an allergy and the common cold. Skin testing in an allergy office is a very helpful way to identify the underlying cause. If allergies are the case, there are a variety of treatment options that can be tailored to each patient to find much needed relief. Long-term relief is also available through immunotherapy, or allergy shots, which can help not only treat allergies, but also prevent the development of asthma.
About Dr. Christina Ortiz
Christina F. Ortiz, MD, MPH is an allergy and asthma specialist. Dr. Ortiz treats a variety of allergic conditions, including seasonal and indoor allergies, asthma, eczema, medication and food allergies, and sinusitis. She provides up-to-date allergy testing to identify triggers of allergic symptoms or asthma. She also offers a variety of treatment options, including allergen immunotherapy , which is an individualized treatment option that offers long-term relief and asthma prevention.
Dr. Ortiz practices at TPMG Coastal Allergy in Chespeake, VA.
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Difference Between Head Cold And Allergies
Colds are caused by viruses. There are many different viruses that can get in your body and your immune system attacks it and tries to knock it out. The symptoms you experience are caused from the attack of your immune system. The congestion, coughing, runny nose and discomfort are symptoms of your cold. Colds are spread easily by germs. Coughing, sneezing and touching door knobs spread the germs and coming in contact with those germs allows the virus to spread to you. A cold will last up to two weeks.
What Causes Respiratory Allergies
If you have allergies, you are not alone. Nearly 50 million other Americans have them, too. In fact, allergies are the fifth leading chronic, or long-term, disease in the United States, and the third most common chronic disease among children under 18-years-old.
Allergic reactions are caused by an over-reactive immune system. Sometimes the body mistakes a harmless substance for a dangerous invader. This results in a release of chemicals from immune cells, which can cause sneezing, itchy, runny nose or eyes, rashes or hives, inflamed eyes, skin, or lungs. In severe allergic reactions, whole body reactions may require immediate medical attention.
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How To Treat Allergies And A Cold
Allergies are caused by your body’s immune system responding to a commonplace trigger, like pollen or cat dander. To fight off the trigger, your immune system releases chemicals called histamines that cause an allergic reaction.
To treat allergies, you’ll need to either avoid the trigger altogether or take medications, like antihistamines, to counteract your immune system’s response. Antihistamines help by blocking the effect of histamines, hence the term antihistamine. This, in turn, helps relieve your symptoms.
“Some people need to stay on antihistamines long term if they have year-round allergies,” Arthur adds.
A cold is caused by a virus. There’s no cure that can treat the virus, but there are medications that can relieve your symptoms. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help alleviate pain and reduce your fever, while decongestants will reduce congestion. Get rest and drink a lot of fluids.
What Are My Treatment Options For Colds
Unfortunately, there is no cure for a cold virus once youve been infected. The good news is that there are many over-the-counter medications and products that can treat your symptoms. If extra rest, drinking hot fluids, nasal irrigation, and saline gargles and washes are not enough to manage your cold symptoms, you could benefit from:
Always read the Drug Facts label on all types of medications before you take them. Its possible that some active ingredients may be in more than one medicine. Also, please note that young children should not be given certain cough and cold medicines check with your pediatrician before giving any medicine to young children and babies.
Its important to work closely with your doctor to determine the best allergy management strategy, depending on your living and work environment and unique sensitivities. With careful diagnosis and treatment, most people can find a way to manage their allergies successfully. Dont lose heart if youre struggling with allergy symptoms a physician can help you develop a plan to improve your situation. And if you have a cold instead of allergies be encouraged that most cold viruses fully resolve in a week or two, and that rest, fluids, or OTC medications can help you manage your symptoms more comfortably.
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Treating A Common Cold
Pratsides says that to treat a cold you should get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated. Having one of the best water bottles to hand can help you to keep on top of your liquid intake.
To soothe a sore throat, gargle salt water, he adds. Recommended medications include paracetamol, ibuprofen and decongestants. But be aware that you can pass on your cold to those around you, so wash your hands regularly, avoid close contact or sharing things with others, like towels or the same glass for drinking.
Three Key Differences Between A Cold And Allergies
Weve all struggled with a cold at one time or another. Its one of the most common viral infections of the nose and throat. In fact, adults can catch between two to five colds each year, and children catch even more.
But if sniffling, sneezing and coughing symptoms last for more than 7 days , you may actually have allergies. As you age, your immune system naturally weakens, which means your bodys response to allergens also weakens. As a result, your body could trigger an unexpected histamine or allergic reaction. Histamine is a chemical inside our bodys cells that helps start the process of removing allergens from your body.
So even if youve never had allergies before, its important to keep track of your symptoms and their duration so you can identify one of the key differences that set allergies apart from colds.
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Talk With A Doctor Or Clinician To Create A Personalized Treatment Plan
If you arent sure if its a cold or allergies, or if your symptoms are severe or long-lasting, its best to connect with a care provider to get an official diagnosis and treatment plan.
If your allergy symptoms are left untreated, you could become more prone to getting sinus infections or other upper respiratory infections, or they may lead to poor asthma control.
Also, a common cold can turn severe. So if your cold has had you laid up longer than a day or two, get in touch with your doctor.
You have a couple options:
Make an appointment for face-to-face care from a primary care doctor or clinician. Whether you choose a video visit or in-person appointment, your doctor will listen to your symptoms, answer questions and work with you to create a tailored treatment plan including connecting you with an allergist or an otolaryngologist if needed.
Start a virtual visit anytime, anyplace through Virtuwell. With Virtuwell, no appointment is necessary and treatment is available 24/7. Getting started is easy. Well ask you a few questions, and youll get your diagnosis and treatment plan from a board-certified nurse practitioner. Each visit is just $59 or less, depending on your insurance.
Symptoms Of A Cold Vs Allergies
Colds and allergies have plenty of symptoms in common, which can make working out the root cause of your illness difficult.
With both, you can experience6:
- Stuffy nose
- Fatigue, tiredness and weakness
To figure out the difference between allergies and a cold, youll therefore need to consider further signs.
Common symptoms of a cold that are rare or dont occur as often with allergies can include7:
- General aches and pains
- Over-the-counter medication for allergy relief, such as the ZYRTEC® family of products
- Avoiding your allergy triggers altogether your doctor may suggest steps to do this
- Immunotherapy, either through injections or tablets, to try to build up an immunity for severe allergies
Download the ZYRTEC® ALLERGYCAST® app* to get a daily pollen forecast, and track your allergy symptoms.
*Standard data rates for your plan apply.
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If Antihistamines Work It’s Probably An Allergy
For children over age 1 year, you can use an antihistamine to help determine whether they have colds or allergies. “Try a non-sedating antihistamine. If your child gets no relief within the next day or two, it’s probably a cold virus,” explains Dr. Lee. “However, if symptoms clear up quickly with the antihistamine, your child probably suffers from seasonal allergy symptoms.”
What Are Summer Allergies
Summer allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever, affects many people of all ages in the United States. Allergies in the summer are caused by a reaction to airborne particles such as pollen. The particles can cause nasal, throat, lung, and eye reactions. In spring and summer, pollen from trees and grass causes allergic reactions that can worsen when you are outdoors.
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Allergy Vs Cold: Which Is It
ByMaddy Biddulphpublished 29 June 22
The symptoms of an allergy and a cold can be similar. Heres how to spot the difference and some ways to manage both conditions
There can be a lot of confusion between an allergy vs a cold, as the symptoms are similar. So which are you suffering with?
According to Dr Tariq Mahmood, medical director at Concepto Diagnostics , what exactly causes an allergy is unclear, but an allergic reaction is when your immune system defends itself against a substance that it perceives as a threat.
When you interact with a substance that you have an allergy to, your body reacts by releasing the hormone histamine to the affected area, he explains. A cold, on the other hand, is a virus that infects your nose and throat by invading the healthy cells. Your body responds by releasing chemicals that trigger virus-fighting cells. In a nutshell, an allergy is a reaction to a foreign substance a cold is a respiratory infection caused by a virus.
When it comes to clearing congestion or treating hay fever and seasonal allergies, you may also ask yourself: what are the best air purifiers for allergies? Or do dehumidifiers help with allergies? There are a few ways to treat both conditions, and in this article well go into more depth about an allergy vs cold, explaining the causes, symptoms, differences and treatments.
When To Talk To Your Doctor
While most coldsand even sinus infectionsclear up on their own, its important to know when you need medical help. If youre having symptoms, heres when you should call a doctor:
- Your symptoms are persisting or worsening after 10 days.
- Pain and discomfort are severe.
- You have a stiff neck or swelling around the eyes.
- Youre experiencing changes in vision or mental function.
- Symptoms go away but then come back.
- You have a fever that persists beyond a few days.
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Get Treatment For Allergies And Sinus Problems At The Ear Nose Throat & Plastic Surgery Associates Orlando
When youre feeling ill, its important to determine the cause so your treatment can be as successful as possible. At the Ear, Nose, Throat & Plastic Surgery Associates, our board-certified otolaryngologists are equipped to help you test for allergies, get the right diagnosis, and be well on your way to feeling your best again. Contact us at the link below to request an appointment.
When To Seek Help
It is not always easy to tell the difference between a cold and an allergy, so it is important to know when to see a healthcare professional. If symptoms last for more than 2 weeks or if they are severe, it may be a good idea to see a doctor.
- need to confirm the diagnosis of allergies or asthma
- require education and guidance in techniques for self-management of allergies or asthma
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What Is A Cold
A cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract . Hundreds of viruses can cause a cold, but the most common cause of adult colds are rhinoviruses. Other viruses that cause colds include strains of coronavirus, adenovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus .
Colds are often spread through droplets in the air when a sick person coughs or sneezes. You can also catch a cold if you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth after handling something with cold viruses on it.
The virus infects the cells of the respiratory tract, multiplies, and sets off an inflammatory response that produces the cold symptoms.
After you’ve been exposed to a cold-causing virus, it typically takes one to three days for you to develop symptoms. These vary from person to person, but tend to be fairly similar. And although most colds go away in about a week, some symptoms can take up to two weeks to clear completely.
You usually develop immunity to the specific virus that caused the cold, but with so many different viruses, you are still at risk from those you haven’t caught previously. As a result, adults catch two to three colds per year, and children catch even more.
What’s The Difference Between A Cold And Allergies
When exposed to certain particles such as animal dander, pollen, trees and grasses children may have an allergic response. This occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens, triggering the release of histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream.
This response causes common allergy symptoms, including:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Fever, in some cases
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Whats The Difference Between Hay Fever And A Cold: Symptoms Of A Cold
There are additional cold symptoms that are uncommon with allergies. If youre also experiencing any of the following, its more likely that you have a cold:
- Aches and pains, which can include pressure in the face/ears.
- Sore throat.
- Raised temperature, fever or sweating.
Aches and fevers are associated more with colds than allergies. Although the throat can be affected with an allergy or common cold, the feeling is often different its usually sore with a cold, and itchy with an allergy. The same goes for eyes colds or pollen allergy symptoms can include watery eyes, but theyre more common with an allergy, when they also tend to be itchy.
Is It Flu Covid
Staying Healthy This Winter
Feeling sick can be especially concerning these days. Could your sniffles be caused by COVID-19? Or the flu? A cold? Or maybe allergies?
Determining the cause of an illness can be tricky because many share some symptoms. They can leave you sniffling, coughing, and feeling tired. But there are important differences.
Figuring out whats making you sick can help you recover and prevent spreading sickness to others.
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Allergies Vs Cold Treatments
Now that you know the key differences between a cold and allergy symptoms, lets take a look at the most effective way to alleviate your symptoms.
When you have seasonal allergies, look for over-the-counter histamine blockers like Zyrtec, Allegra or Claritin. These medications work by traveling through your blood and latching onto histamine receptors . This action helps block more histamine from affecting healthy cells, which would exacerbate symptoms.
If you are new to allergy medications, please visit your healthcare provider or local urgent care to help you determine which medication is right for you.
Most cold symptoms can be treated with an over-the-counter medication that treats your worst symptoms, which is often related to congestion. Look for brands like Mucinex, Vicks DayQuil or Vicks NyQuil to help you breathe easier and rest. While these medications will not cure your cold, they can help alleviate symptoms so you can get back to your daily activities. If you or a loved one has been struggling with cold symptoms for more than 14 days, you may have allergies. Talk to one of the experienced physicians at Amory Urgent Care. We can help you feel better fast. We are open for walk-in appointments 7 days a week from 8 a.m. 7 p.m.
Allergies Vs Cold Symptoms
You may have noticed the symptoms for colds and allergies listed above are very similar, so how can we tell them apart?
One of the biggest differences between cold and allergies is their duration. Colds last about 1 week, whereas allergies can last much longer. Here are three key differences between cold and allergies:
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