Freestanding emergency rooms providing urgent care services are now incredibly vital health care providers for people all around the world. As new centers open, thousands of people now have access to emergency and preventative care, without enduring the waiting time in hospital emergency rooms. Although these centers sometimes have slightly different offerings, there are urgent…
How to Tell the Difference Between Allergies and a Cold
Allergies and a cold can appear to be similar and are often mistaken for one another. While it may seem as if you get the cold each year, instead, it may actually be seasonal allergies. By understanding the differences between the two, you can determine which is more likely.
Allergies vs. the cold
While some of the symptoms are similar, allergies and the common cold are quite different. The following is everything to know about the differences between allergies and the cold, including the symptoms and treatment options for both.
A person experiences allergies when exposed to allergens, which can cause an immune system response if the immune system deems the allergen as a foreign substance. When allergies occur, it can lead to the following symptoms:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Loss of smell
- Itchy eyes
- Ear pain
The symptoms of allergies can, at first, look like the same symptoms of a cold, but there are some key symptoms displayed with allergies that do not exist with the cold, including itchy eyes and the lack of a fever.
How to treat allergies
Allergies are more about managing the symptoms than completely curing the issue altogether. Ideally, the best way to handle seasonal allergies is to do everything possible to prevent exposure to the allergen. However, when prevention is not possible, treatment options include antihistamine medication, decongestants and nasal steroid sprays, although each person who suffers from allergies should strive to find out exactly what works best for them and implement that tactic.
Allergies typically last for much longer than the cold, which is another way to distinguish between the two. On average, allergies continue for several weeks, although the exact duration ranges widely from person to person.
Common cold symptoms
The cold is a viral infection that can lead to upper respiratory symptoms, many of which are similar to symptoms found with allergies. The most prominent symptoms of the common cold include but are not limited to the following:
- Stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Mild fever
When comparing the list of allergy symptoms and the list of cold symptoms, you can begin to see a difference between the two conditions. The most obvious symptoms that signal the cold is more likely include a mild fever and perhaps most significantly a sore throat, which rarely exists with allergies.
How to treat the common cold
The main way to treat the common cold is to simply manage the symptoms until the body can fight off the infection. It is also very important to try and drink plenty of fluids and receive an adequate amount of rest when sick with the cold to give the body what it needs to defend itself from the infection effectively.
A few popular ways to manage the symptoms of a cold include over-the-counter pain relief medication, cough drops and decongestants. If you are suffering from a cold that becomes more severe, you may want to consider visiting a doctor. They can prescribe antiviral medication to help knock out the infection and help you return to full health.
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