Is It A Cold Or Allergies?

I can’t believe Groundhog Day is here already! Even if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow this Saturday, we still have many more weeks of winter to deal with and many of our customers are having a really hard time this year. If you have the flu you know it; but many people think they have a cold when really it’s their allergies that are flaring up.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) "Millions of Americans think they are suffering from a cold during the winter months when they're actually experiencing allergies."

Cold and allergy symptoms can be very similar. That runny nose, headache and watery eyes, make it hard for you to figure out exactly what is bothering you. For most the main difference is the length of time symptoms last. A cold normally disappears after a week maybe 10 days, but allergies can last much longer. In fact for some almost all winter long. Another difference between cold and allergy symptoms is that you may run a low grade fever with the common cold, but allergy will never cause an elevated body temperature.

The good news is allergies are not contagious, but the symptoms only vary slightly from the common cold, which is contagious. Normally if you have body aches and a fever it’s a cold.

Have a cold?

Body aches
Sore throat

Got allergies?

Runny or stuffed nose
Watery or itchy eyes
Post nasal drip
Dull headache

If it’s a cold all you can do is rest, take a non steroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or sodium naproxen to reduce the fever and body aches and drink lots of fluids. A good bowl of hot soup works wonders too! If it’s allergies you can take several different over-the-counter and prescription medications as well as beefing up your environmental controls. As always check with your doctor first.

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