If you’re like most people, you don’t need to be told that it can be difficult to tell the difference between a cold and allergies. At the same time, making this distinction is important because treating them differently will often lead to quick relief. This article will walk you through some of the unique symptoms of each condition and help you determine if your symptoms are more allergy-related or cold-related.
1. Sneezing – Sneezing is the hallmark feature of colds. If someone tells you they have a cold, you can bet that early on in the conversation, they will tell you how much they have been sneezing. You will also see them rubbing their nose or their eye area because that is a frequent location for these sneezes to hit.
2. Runny nose- The nose is a general area where your nasal passages can get clogged. When any airway blockage happens, it usually starts as mild and temporary congestion. At this point, most people try to wait for it to pass. But when you have a cold, the congestion turns into a chronic issue that keeps growing and growing until your nose is so stuffy you can barely breathe.
3. Coughing is an important symptom to watch out for, mainly if it’s associated with mucus. When you have a cold, you will produce higher amounts of mucus, which is often evident through a higher-than-normal amount of coughing. This mucus may also be thick and green, which signifies that it’s filled with bacteria and other germs.
4. Vomiting- Most people don’t usually vomit with colds, but it can happen. In the rare instances when it does, it usually means that your cold has gotten worse and you have developed a sinus infection. You may also feel nauseous due to your congestion and stuffed-up nose when you have a cold. Nausea is usually mild and won’t last long after you start feeling better.
1. Itchy eyes- Allergies can cause watering and itching of your eye area. While this is certainly something you would need to have checked out by a doctor, it is also a typical symptom of allergies. Some people suffer from seasonal allergies with no noticeable mucus production. Instead, they get itchy eyes that are usually accompanied by a runny nose.
2. Watery eyes- They may not be as evident as itchy eyes, but they are still an important symptom to watch out for. Once your body develops an allergy response, your nose will start producing more mucus, which then backs up in the sinuses and drains into your tear ducts. This can cause your eyes to become irritated and watery, leading you to clear them with a tissue or give them a good rub every few minutes.
3. Hives – Allergies can cause your body to release histamine, which causes blood vessels to swell. When your blood vessels start swelling, the skin beneath them will break out in hives. This swelling can show up in various areas of your body, but it usually begins with your nose, face, and scalp.
4. Headaches – One of the most distinguishing characteristics of allergies is headaches. Allergies often manifest themselves as migraines, but they can also include tension or cluster headaches. When you have this type of headache, you may feel nauseous and dizzy because the pain from an allergy can cause an increase in sensitivity.
The differences between cold symptoms and allergies can be very subtle. It is essential to monitor your symptoms closely if you are trying to determine if you have a cold or an allergy. On the other hand, if you are experiencing severe symptoms regularly, you should seek medical attention.