When it comes to a sniffly nose and the chills, it’s very common to misinterpret symptoms and misdiagnose oneself. Check out the tips, below, to learn how to tell the difference between allergies and a cold.
Too often when someone has the sniffles, others assume that they are contagious. However, those sniffles are often caused by something not contagious at all. For those suffering from congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing, a cold may be the first thought, but these are also signs of allergies. Learn the differences between allergies and a cold so you can find the right relief fast.
Also known as “the common cold,” a cold is a virus. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are more than 100 different types of cold viruses. So while symptoms and severity may vary, colds generally share some of the same basic characteristics.
Below are the key features of this common illness:
- Colds may be passed through the air from coughing and sneezing, as well as through touch.
- Most common symptoms include cough, sore throat, and a runny, stuffy nose.
- Sneezing and itchy eyes are less common symptoms.
- More severe colds can cause fevers and body aches.
- Recovery is usually quick — in fact, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) estimates that the average duration is 7 to 10 days.
- If symptoms last more than a week or two, the cold may have progressed into an infection.
- People with allergies are sometimes more prone to catching colds.
Allergies occur when your immune system has an adverse reaction to certain substances. Upon exposure to triggers, the immune system releases chemicals called histamines. While intended to fight off perceived intruders, the release of histamine is actually what causes allergy symptoms.