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How to Tell the Difference Between Allergies, the Common Cold, and the Flu

How to Tell the Difference Between Allergies, the Common Cold, and the Flu

September is here, and with the beginning of fall comes seasonal illnesses. Allergies, colds, and the flu all become more prevalent in the fall, but all come with symptoms that look similar at their onset. What does that cough mean? Read on to find out!

Fall flu

The Flu

Influenza distinguishes itself not just with respiratory symptoms, but often with pain and discomfort that spreads through your whole body. Watch for some of these distinct signs:

When you become infected with the flu virus, you usually develop a high fever, above 101 degrees. There is a finite start and ending to having the flu, doctors say. The symptoms come on quickly, and end about one to two weeks after you become infected. 

A major way to combat your chances of getting the flu, or having milder symptoms is to get the annual flu shot. Make sure you're getting yours every year!

Fall Common Cold

The Common Cold

A major difference between the cold and flu is that a cold probably wont' you a high fever or body aches. Fevers signaling a cold are generally low-grade, between 99 and 100 degrees.

In addition, a cold or virus typically operates on a schedule, meaning that their symptoms come in order. Symptoms that signal a cold include:

Most colds actually are viral and do not require antibiotics. Antibiotics are only useful in bacterial infections, and don't usually provide relief in viral cases. Remember, it's not guaranteed that mucus color indicates an infection even if yours is sometimes green - if it gets lighter in color and thinner, you probably don't have an infection.

Fall Common Cold


A signal that you have allergies instead of a cold or the flu is when your mucus is clear, as opposed to yellow or green. The mucus also tends to be a little bit more runny. 

Changes in weather can bring on allergies due to increased irritants in the area, particularly in September's high ragweed season. Allergy symptoms may include:

Mild allergies can with can be helped with over-the-counter allergy medications such as antihistamines and nasal sprays.

By examining the symptoms above, you'll be able to  determine and treat your sickness. Here at Mountainside Medical Equipment, we offer plenty of options to treat all of these symptoms and more!

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