10 Differences Between A Common Cold And Allergies

Lifestyle & Health

Colds and allergies have a lot in common. The symptoms of both conditions are brought on by the reaction of your immune system and sometimes overlap. But they have entirely different causes and require different treatments. Colds can be treated at home if the symptoms are not severe, and the same is true for allergies, but to find out whether you’re allergic you need to have an allergy test.

And if you already know for certain that you have an allergy, here are some natural methods to combat its attacks:

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Here are key differences between a common cold and allergies:

1. Cause

Colds are caused by viruses (there are more than 200 of them, the most common being rhinovirus). Allergic reactions develop when you come into contact with an allergen – a normally innocuous substance that your body perceives as a harmful agent for some reason.

2. Season

You can catch a cold at any time of the year, but it’s most common in late fall and winter. Allergies usually manifest in spring and early fall, but you can have symptoms all year round depending on what you’re allergic to.

3. Duration of symptoms

Cold symptoms start a few days after you’ve caught a virus, last about a week, and subside gradually. Allergy symptoms develop suddenly as soon as you’re exposed to an allergen and last depending on the duration of the exposure.

4. Sneezing

Sneezing is common for both allergies and colds. But you may not sneeze too much if you have a cold; sneezing fits are more common for allergies.

5. Cough

Coughing is a very common symptom of colds but is rare in allergies.

6. Runny or stuffy nose

These symptoms occur both in allergies and colds.

7. Mucus

In people with a cold, nasal discharge is usually yellowish or green and thicker due to the virus. If you have an allergy, nasal discharge is likely to be clear, thin, and watery.

8. Fever

A low-grade fever is common for colds but is not associated with allergies.

9. Eye symptoms

An allergic reaction usually manifests in itchy and watery eyes, which is rather uncommon for colds.

10. Tiredness

Feeling tired can be a symptom of both allergies and colds.

When to call a doctor

If you think you may have an allergy, ask your doctor about an allergy test.

If you have a cold and your symptoms are not severe, there’s no need to contact your healthcare provider. But if your symptoms are severe or show no sign of improvement in a few days or longer, you should call your doctor.

Source: WebMD, Medical News Today, MedicineNet

READ ALSO: Sinusitis: Symptoms, Causes, And How To Relieve It


This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.