Difference Between Cold and Allergies

It is very difficult even for doctors to tell the difference between cold and allergy. Some information given in this article can be helpful to diagnose the symptoms of allergy and cold. Cold happens due to some virus infection and it is contagious. It can lead to various symptoms such as coughing and congestion. Allergies are caused due to an overactive immune system of the body. When any allergen from the environment attacks, your immune system produces histamines. This can nlead to various allergic symptoms such as nasal passage swelling, a runny nose, sneezing and coughing. Allergies are not contagious, but some people can inherit a tendency to develop them. Some information about cold and allergies are discussed in this article.

Symptoms of Cold and Allergies

There can be various similarities between cold and allergy, but the differences between the two
can make you understand the best way to treat both the conditions. Some of the differences between
the two are as follows:

  • The first difference is the onset of symptoms. The symptoms for cold will take a few days to develop completely, but the allergy can occur quickly. Allergies can have various symptoms such as itchy eyes, red nose and scratchy throat.
  • Due to cold, symptoms can take several days to develop and later one day you will have nose congestion and scratchy throat and this can take a few days before your symptoms progresses to a full blown cold.
  • Nasal discharge is also a difference between cold and allergies. During allergic symptoms, nasal discharge is white or clear and thin.
  • In cold, the discharge is thick and it is so thick sometimes that it is difficult to clear the nose even by blowing it. When the nasal discharge becomes dark yellow, brownish and green, it might indicate a sinus infection.
  • The time period also help to determine the significance of allergies and cold symptoms. Allergies can last up to several months, but cold can last for seven to fourteen days. Cold can occur in any season, while pollen allergies are most likely to happen in fall and spring seasons.
  • Cold by some viruses can come with slight fever. Allergies are often termed as ‘hay fever’, which rarely cause fever unless you have sinus infections.
  • Some medications can also determine the difference between the two. If you take antihistamine, the symptoms of allergy are likely to resolve quickly and will not cause allergy again until exposed to allergen again. These medication will not eliminate cold completely, but can provide minor relief.

The above are a few differences between cold and allergies.

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