Spring is in the air, so for many that means, itchy eyes and a runny nose. Yes, along with all of the goodness of spring, many of us experience allergic rhinitis, which is a fancy name for seasonal allergies. But wait! The common cold exhibits many of the same symptoms and is treated differently. So how can you tell which is which?
A cold is an infection caused by a virus. Allergies are your immune system’s reaction to a substance like pollen from plants or pet dander. The two conditions cause similar symptoms and knowing the difference between the two can help you get the right treatment, and feel better sooner.
Allergies are prevalent at this time of year and cause your nose to run with mucus that is clear or watery. Your eyes will be itchy and water and if you have these symptoms for more than a week, it’s probably allergies as a cold usually clears up after a week to 10 days. Finally, allergies may often only show up in certain situations. Do you find yourself sneezing only in the spring or fall? Are you miserable after being outside in the back yard or a house with cats?
Colds exhibit some of the same symptoms of allergies, but also come with a cough, low-grade fever, headache, or mild body aches. With a cold, your symptoms may not be consistent and your mucus will be yellow, green, or thick, as immune cells fight back against the cold virus. “Many people think they have to suffer through a cold or put up with allergies by taking random medicine to fight it off,” says, Dr. Amanda Cowan with St. Joseph’s/Candler Urgent Care. “Unfortunately, you do have to let a cold run its course, but urgent care facilities can offer direction on the proper medications and treatments to help ease the symptoms of a cold and also provide quicker, temporary relief of allergies