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Allergies Or A Cold? Here's How To Tell

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You have the sniffles. Your nose is running, and you feel generally run down. You might presume you have a cold, but do you? Could you possibly be suffering from allergies instead? Telling the difference between allergies and a cold is not always easy, but the guide below can help you figure out what's wrong.

Are your eyes itchy?

Many of the nasal symptoms of colds and of allergies are the same. However, only allergies tend to make the eyes irritated. If your eyes are red, dry, itchy, or watery, it is very likely that you are suffering from allergies and not a cold. Eye-related symptoms occur due to the histamine release associated with allergies, but not due to your body's reaction to the viruses that cause colds.

Are your symptoms about the same day after day?

You may not be able to answer this question if your symptoms just popped up, but after a few days, you should have an answer. Cold symptoms tend to get worse for a few days, and then start getting better. Allergy symptoms tend to be about the same day after day, perhaps with small variation as the pollen count fluctuates a bit.

Do your symptoms go away in certain places?

Have you noticed that you feel a lot better when you're at work, at a friend's house, or maybe even in your own home? This is often a sign that your symptoms are due to allergies and that you're being exposed to allergens in those areas in which your symptoms are the worst.

Do you have a fever?

Allergies don't cause fever. Colds do not always cause a fever, either, but if you do have a fever, this is a pretty sure sign that your body is fighting off a virus, not reacting to an allergen in the air. Keep in mind that chills are a sign you have a fever. 

Is your mucous yellow or green?

The mucous secreted by someone with allergies are almost always white or clear. Mucous secreted by someone with a cold can be white or clear, or it can be yellowish-green. If you have yellow-green mucous, you have a cold.

Based on the information above, if you think you have allergies, it is a good idea to see an allergist for diagnosis or treatment. If you think you have a cold, just rest and wait it out. You'll be feeling better soon.

To learn more about allergies and colds, reach out to a local medical health professional.