Seasonal allergies vs. a cold

in Tuscaloosa, AL

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Seasonal allergies vs. a cold

Everyone gets a cold. They are very common and most people get one at least every year. Colds are recognizable by their symptoms and their longevity. Allergies are also very common, especially during seasons like Spring and Fall. Allergies have a different set of symptoms and longevity. It can be hard to tell if you are experiencing a cold or an allergy because the symptoms can be very similar. Our team at Alabama ENT has written out the main differences to help you decipher what you are experiencing. 

What Are Colds? 

Colds are caused by a virus contracted through the spray or droplets from sneezes or coughs. They are contagious and can be caught by simply grasping a doorknob that has bacteria on it. 

Cold Treatment

What Are Allergies? 

Allergies occur due to triggers that attack the immune system. Triggers can include a range of things like food, pollen, hair, sprays, and more. It is important to note that allergies are not contagious and cannot be contracted through bacteria from another person. 

Similar Symptoms

Both seasonal allergies and colds share symptoms like:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Congestion
  • Sore throat

Different Symptoms

People who have a cold tend to get body aches, fever, fatigue, and a sore throat.

People who have allergies can have eyes that are watery and itch, a runny nose, some congestion, itchy skin, and hives. 

Do I Have A Cold Or Allergies?

While the time of year isn’t exclusive to colds or allergies, there are other clues to let you know what you are experiencing, such as: 

  • The type of season you are in. Grass and tree pollen is worse in the Spring. Ragweed is worse in the Fall. 
  • Colds generally last seven to ten days. Allergies can go on for months or until you take an anti-histamine to control the symptoms.
  • A cold virus will be in the body for seven to ten days before the onset of symptoms. The actual “cold” is the virus trying to get out of the body. Allergies happen instantaneously at the same time every year. 
  • Notice the color of the discharge when coughing or blowing the nose. Green, yellow, or brownish discharge is the presence of an infection. Clear or slightly discolored discharge can mean allergies.

How To Treat Each

While there is no cure for a viral infection, treating the symptoms of a cold can help. Taking decongestants, staying hydrated, and getting lots of rest are good remedies for a cold. 

Allergies, on the other hand, can be targeted specifically according to the triggers. Small portions of a specific allergen are injected into the body, to help the immune system build up a tolerance. By doing so, symptoms will become less troublesome over time. 

For other allergens, antihistamines and decongestants are good remedies. Sometimes corticosteroids can help with certain symptoms as well. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of a cold or allergy, don’t suffer alone. Our team at Alabama Ear, Nose, and Throat are specially trained in colds and allergies. To find treatment, come in today. 

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