Is it a Cold or Allergies?

This time of year, both the common cold and allergies can be prominent.  It can often times be difficult to determine which is which.  A cold is a virus while allergies are just an immune system over-reaction.  Both have similar symptoms, and both can make you feel miserable.

Colds can typically last anywhere from three to fourteen days.  Allergies, on the other hand, can last hours to months as it all depends how long the person is exposed to the allergen. For most people, allergies occur during spring and summer when trees are blooming and grass is growing but for some, allergies could persist year round.

Cold symptoms usually occur two to three days after catching the virus.  Reactions to allergens are almost immediate after exposure.  Allergy symptoms are typically itchy, watery eyes, runny or stuffy nose, and an occasional cough.  Cold symptoms are generally a cough, body aches, sore throat, fatigue, and a runny or stuffy nose. When suffering from allergies mucus is usually clear.  This is different from the yellow mucus typically found during a cold.   Fever or body aches never occur during allergies, but are not uncommon when suffering from a cold.