Allergies vs. Colds

There are some common misconceptions about allergies.

Allergies and colds share common symptoms and are often hard to tell apart. Colds are infections caused by a virus. Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a substance like pollen or medications. While both conditions cause similar symptoms, like congestion and sneezing, knowing the difference between the two will help you get the right treatment faster. 

Allergies involve the following symptoms:

  • Itchy eyes (colds rarely cause this symptom)
  • Sniffles lasting for more than a week
  • Your symptoms remain the same day after day

Colds have the following symptoms:

  • Cough, fever, headaches, or body aches
  • Your symptoms vary every few days
  • Your mucus is yellow, green, or thick

There is no cure for allergies or colds.

What you should do if you suffer from allergies:

  • Avoid your allergens as much as possible
  • Take your allergy medicines as prescribed
  • Keep an injection of epinephrine with you at all times
  • If you have severe allergies, wear a medical alert bracelet

A common cold can be treated with:

  • Plenty of fluids
  • Rest
  • Over-the-counter cough and cold medicine
  • Pain medicine
  • Humidifier or vaporizer