4 Ways to Tell Colds from Allergies


Time of year

Colds often occur in the winter and can take several days to show up after being exposed to the virus. Allergies, on the other hand, occur immediately after being exposed to the allergen and is most likely to occur in spring, summer, and fall.  If your symptoms –sneezing, stuffy nose and itchy eyes- show up at the same time each year, it may very likely be seasonal allergies.

Duration of Symptoms

While a typical cold lasts between 3-14 days, allergy symptoms usually last for weeks or as long as the person is exposed to the allergen.

Temperature or Muscle Aches?

Your body temperature can also help you determine where your symptoms are coming from. Seasonal allergies typically don’t cause body aches or a fever, whereas people with colds often have these symptoms.

Itchy Eyes or a Sore Throat?

Sore throats are often the beginning stages of a cold, you may begin to feel your sore throat a few days before your cold symptoms begin.  Allergies on the other hand rarely cause sore throats but do cause itchy eyes. If you find your eyes are itchy and bothersome, chances are you’re having an allergic reaction.

What now?

If you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, traditional treatment includes over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, or nasal steroids. It’s best to know what triggers your allergies so you can avoid it if possible.

With colds, prevention is key. They best way to prevent a cold is to wash your hands regularly and get plenty of sleep.