Runny nose, aches, sneezing? You may have a cold or allergies. Learn what the key differences between a cold and allergies and how to properly identify each condition. Too often when someone has the sniffles, others assume 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 it actually may be your body fighting off airborne particles. Here's a handy guide from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America:
It's allergies if:
- You have a runny nose with clear discharge, sneezing, wheezing, coughing and watery, itchy eyes.
- You have no fever.
- Symptoms begin almost immediately after exposure to allergens.
- Symptoms last as long as the allergen is present.
It's a flu or cold if:
- You have a runny nose with yellow discharge, aches and pain, sneezing, coughing and a sore or scratchy throat.
- You have a fever.
- Symptoms take a few days to appear.
- Symptoms clear up within a few days or a week.
Allergies can last to varying degrees all year, with some patients waking up every morning with some form of congestion or itchiness. For many suffering from allergies, symptoms will be much more dramatic during certain times of the year. In the spring, for instance, certain airborne pollens can cause allergy sufferers to experience extreme symptoms.
If someone near you is sneezing and coughing due to allergies, you cannot catch it. There is nothing contagious about an allergic reaction. Allergies generally cause quite a bit of itchiness, including itchy eyes and a scratchy throat due to postnasal drip. This also causes the sore throat and coughing symptoms that can cause an allergic person to mistake his or her symptoms for a cold.
With a cold, symptoms come on fast and taper off fairly quickly, when compared to allergies. Colds are often accompanied by body aches, which are not experienced by allergy sufferers, and sometimes fever, another symptom that doesn’t affect those with allergies. A cold sufferer also won’t experience the itchiness that comes with allergies.
Another condition, a sinus infection, can occur when bacteria causes the sinuses to become infected. This can be brought on by either a cold or allergies—both of which cause mucus to build up in the sinus cavities and create blockages. Sinus infections can cause extreme allergy and cold-like symptoms and, if left untreated, can last for weeks and even months.
*Read the original article via Healthline.com