The arrival of spring means warmer weather, greenery, and inevitably — seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies and colds share common symptoms, making it difficult to tell the two apart. The common cold is caused by a virus, while allergy symptoms are caused by the immune system’s response to allergens (pollen, dust, pet dander, etc.) Both conditions typically involve sneezing, a runny nose, and congestion. Some signs that may help you differentiate the two include:
• Time of Year – Colds tend to occur during winter and often show up a few days after exposure to a virus. Seasonal allergies however, occur immediately after exposure to pollens in the spring, summer, or fall.
• Duration of Symptoms – Colds usually last between 3-14 days. Allergies last longer (as long as you are exposed to pollen, etc causing the symptoms.)
• Temperature or Muscle Aches – Fever, aches, & fatigue are signs of a cold and not normally associated with allergies. However, sometimes a mild fever can be mistaken for allergies.
Sinus infections, colds, and allergies share some similar symptoms, including congestion. Medications like nasal sprays, oral antihistamines, and eye drops can help minimize your discomfort. If symptoms continue to persist, consult a doctor about proper treatment.