A sore throat, runny nose, coughing, and sneezing – all well-known symptoms of colds and allergies. But which of the two is causing your problems? Let’s take a look at the difference between colds and allergies.
What Are the Causes?
The rhinovirus is the most common cause of seasonal colds. It enters your body through the nasal pathways and results in a strong immune response. Because colds are usually of viral origin, they are also contagious.
Unlike colds, allergies are not contagious. They develop in the presence of some harmless substance your body mistakenly sees as a threat. The symptoms you experience are also the result of a strong immune response.
The Difference in the Symptoms
As we have already explained, the main symptoms of colds and allergies are very similar. But there are other symptoms you can use to tell the difference between colds and allergies.
For example, colds can cause fevers, but allergies can’t. If you’re experiencing fatigue or muscle and joint ache, you can be sure that it’s the common cold and not an allergy.
But if your eyes are itchy and watery, it is a clear sign of an allergic reaction. What’s more, allergies are sometimes accompanied by skin rashes and eczema. These symptoms don’t normally occur when you have a cold.
What You Can Do
Your body will usually be able to fight colds on its own. If you go to the doctor, they may recommend paracetamol to reduce the fever. Other than that, they’ll tell you to drink fluids, get plenty of rest, and consume vitamin C to boost your immunity.
If you have an allergy, you need to treat it with over-the-counter antihistamines. They will help reduce the production of histamines, the substances that cause an allergic reaction. In doing so, they will help you recover faster.
If you can’t tell what’s causing your problems, go to your doctor. They will run tests to identify the triggers and recommend appropriate treatment.