What Is The Difference Between An Allergy and A Cold?

Chances are you’ve woke up once in your life to a bout of sneezing, coughing and headaches and initially were not sure exactly what it meant. Allergy and cold symptoms – we all know what they are because of our experience with them. But it’s important we’re able to quickly distinguish between the two.

Common allergies include but are not limited to food, pets, dust, mold or pollen. Each has a distinguishable characteristic that can affect your lifestyle as you attempt to come out of hibernation from the long winter. Sometimes, we think we’re getting a cold, when in fact, it’s actually an allergen that could be present in your environment.

It’s important to consider if you have changed environments in any way over the past year. Be it work or a new living space, if you were not experiencing symptoms of a cold or allergies last year around this time, it could be anything from mold in your new home to that cute new puppy you brought home.

What Are The Symptom Differences Between Allergies and Colds

Allergies can last anywhere from days to months, depending on your exposure to the particular allergen. A cold can last up to two weeks. Likewise, allergies can be seasonal and happen anytime of the year, but colds most often happen in winter. So if you are coughing up a storm in the spring or summertime, it’s at least more likely you have hay fever than an acutal fever.

Though congestion, runny nose and sneezing are all common symptoms of both allergies and colds, one thing to note is that colds don’t always produce these symptoms at the same time, in the same place. Often you start with a stuffy head, then wake up the next day with a cough as it moves through your system. Allergies act different. Whatever symptoms they can give you, you get them all at once. LIkewise, allergies are not associated with a fever. If you have a fever, it’s most likely a cold.

Look At The Mucus – Seriously

When in doubt, grab a tissue and blow. When you have a cold, you likely have a thick, yellow type of pasty mucus. Allergies typically produce clear, thin and watery mucus. This is because when you have a cold, your immune system commands white blood cells to your nostril area. They have green-covered enzymes, which turn your mucus the same color. Thin, clear mucus is actually typically normal, the allergens are simply causing your body to react in a way that makes it much more prevalent.

Treatment Options for Allergies

Curtis Pharmacy is your one-stop shop for allergy relief, whether its over the counter types such as Claritin®,  Zyrtec® or Flonase®. We have non-drowsy medications as well. If you’re looking for treatment at home, mix a batch of onion and garlic together — both are high in Quercetin, an oxidant that avoids cells from releasing histamines and removing toxins present in the body. Citrus fruits, dijon mustard, green tea and chicken soup are all well-known home remedies as well. Talk to your pharmacist at Curtis if you are concerned about your symptoms, or you’re confused as to whether you have allergies – or simply a common cold.