Is It A Cold or Allergies? Ask Yourself These 6 Questions

Posted on September 16 2014

You’re sneezing, congested, have a sore throat, runny nose, and your eyes are puffy and runny…. Do you have a cold or is it allergies? How do you know? If you think it must be a cold because you’ve never had allergies before, guess again! According to experts from the Allergy and AsthmaClinicalCenters, allergies can develop at anytime throughout your life. Distinguishing between a cold and allergies can be challenging. Both can make you feel terrible and interfere with one’s ability to function normally. Asking yourself a few simple questions can help you and your healthcare provider determine whether you have a cold or allergies. Remember, when in doubt, get it checked out! Your healthcare provider can help you sort out your symptoms and conduct a physical exam to help determine if you’ve been suffering from a cold or seasonal allergies. Getting a proper diagnosis leads to more effective treatments.

#1 – How quickly did your symptoms appear?

For starters, ask yourself how quickly your symptoms appeared. Did your symptoms all of a sudden come on at once or did you slowly start to notice that you weren’t feeling your best? Dr. Nadim Bikhazi, an ear, nose and throat specialist in Ogden, Utah, explained in report published September 10th on that cold symptoms tend to progress much more slowly than allergy symptoms, which tend to all hit at once.

#2 – Does your throat hurt or tickle?

According to Dr. Bikhazi, if you woke up one morning with a painfully sore throat you probably have a cold or flu virus, but if you have allergies “you'll feel more of an itch rather than real soreness”.

#3 – How long have you been sick?

If your symptoms seem to last for a while, chances are you might have allergies and not a cold, but if the people around you seem to be catching your symptoms, chances are you’ve caught a cold virus.

#4 – Have your symptoms progressed?

If your symptoms have been progressing (like if your sore throat has turned into a runny nose/congestion, you’ve started getting a cough, and then a fever starts), Dr. Bikhazi says chances are you probably have a cold.

#5 – Have you had fevers?

While the cold virus can cause fevers, allergies usually don’t. Therefore, if your symptoms are accompanied by a fever chances are you probably have a cold and not seasonal allergies.

#6 – Are you getting better without treatment?

A cold virus usually runs its course within a few days, whereas allergies won’t improve without treatment (or until the season ends). Dr. Bikhazi suggests that if your symptoms don’t seem to improve after 2 weeks you should probably consider talking to your healthcare provider about seasonal allergies.


Whether your symptoms are caused by a cold virus or allergens, Mountainside Medical Equipment offers a wide selection of over-the-counter medications to help provide relief from even your toughest symptoms. Browse through our selection of allergy relief products or cold and flu medications today and get back to feeling more like yourself.




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