Experiencing a runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing or sneezing? Often times it can be difficult to know if you have caught a cold or a bout of allergies. Understanding the difference between the common cold and allergies can influence and affect how you treat and ultimately overcome your sickness. Although there are many similarities between colds and allergies, there are some helpful hints that can help you get to the bottom of why you may have the sniffles. Beyond understanding your body and the type of ailment you have, it is also important to know when to visit your nearest UNI Urgent Care location for professional help.
Time & Environment
A large indicator of the common cold versus allergies is time. According to the CDC, cold symptoms last about 7-10 days while allergy symptoms could last several weeks if the allergen remains in the air. Did the symptoms come on over a few days or almost instantly? If they took a few days, you likely have a cold. If they came on quickly, your body is probably reacting to an allergen. Environment also plays a huge role in narrowing your symptoms. With allergies, symptoms may appear during a certain season or change of season. If symptoms appear suddenly around animals or grass, that is also a strong sign of allergies.*
If looking at time elapsed or environment doesn’t help you, take note of your symptoms. Itchy/watery eyes are symptoms of allergies, while a fever will often accompany a cold. A sore throat could occur with a cold but is not typically seen with allergies. Body aches do not occur with allergies while they usually indicate a common cold. And if you happen to develop eczema with your ailment, chances are you are experiencing allergies, not a cold.**
If you simply cannot decipher between a cold or allergies, and if severe symptoms last for more than 2 weeks, it is time to visit your us. Any of our 6 UNI Locations will be able to identify possible allergy triggers (if they exist) and provide accurate treatments/prescriptions or suggest a regimen to shorten the life of your cold.
**Medical News Today