Allergies Or A Cold? How To Tell The Difference, And When To Seek Medical Attention

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May 27, 2024

With the weather getting warmer and pollen counts increasing, that means allergy season is on the way, but how do you know if it’s actually allergies? We’ve all heard someone blame their allergies while they’re hacking up a lung right next to us; this guide will help you determine whether or not it’s allergies.

Colds and allergies can share many of the same symptoms, such as a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, and fatigue. However, the causes and treatments for these conditions are very different. As an urgent care provider, we want to help our patients understand the difference between colds and allergies so they can receive proper treatment and feel better faster.

What Causes Colds and Allergies?

Colds are caused by a viral infection in the respiratory system, while allergies are caused by the immune systems reaction to a foreign substance. The viruses that cause colds are contagious, while allergies are not.

Symptoms of Colds and Allergies:

While colds and allergies can have similar symptoms, there are some differences to look out for.

Symptoms of a cold include:

• Sore throat

• Congestion

• Cough

• Sneezing

• Fatigue

• Fever

Symptoms of allergies include:

• Itchy eyes

• Runny nose

• Sneezing

• Stuffy nose

• Fatigue

• Rash

If you have a fever or body aches, it is more likely that you have a cold rather than allergies.

Diagnosis and Treatment

To determine whether you have a cold or allergies, one of our providers at Corner Clinic Urgent Care will ask about your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and may recommend allergy testing. Treatment for colds and allergies varies:

Colds: There is no cure for the common cold, but over-the-counter medications can help alleviate symptoms. These may include pain relievers, decongestants, and cough suppressants.

It is also important to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.

Allergies: Allergy treatment may involve avoiding allergens, taking over-the-counter antihistamines, or prescription medications. In severe cases, immunotherapy may be recommended to build up a patient's tolerance to allergens over time.

When to visit us at Corner Clinic Urgent Care:

  • If you are experiencing symptoms of a cold or allergies, it is important to seek medical care if your symptoms persist or worsen.
  • If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, or wheezing, seek immediate medical attention.

In conclusion, while colds and allergies can share some similar symptoms, their causes and treatments are very different. If you are unsure whether you have a cold or allergies, come to Corner Clinic for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.