It’s that time of the year where flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and allergies are coming on in full force. This year’s allergies have been especially intense with extremely high rates of pollen causing misery in the eyes and noses of those young and old.
We often get parents who bring in their children for lingering colds they can’t seem to shake. Unbeknownst to the parents, they don’t realize that allergy symptoms can be confused with a common cold or upper respiratory infection. So, what’s the difference between a cold and allergies? First and foremost, they have different causes. Colds are caused by a living virus that affects your immune system, causing your body to go into defensive mode, which results in common cold symptoms such as cough, runny nose, or sore throat. Colds are contagious and are picked up from person-to-person contact like hand shakes, hugs, sneezes and coughs. On the contrary, allergies are not contagious, and are simply the result of an overactive immune system. Allergies occur when your body reacts to harmless things such as pollen, dust, or animals.
It can be very difficult to differentia the symptoms between allergies and some kind of other infection, but one of the biggest indicators comes from how long your symptoms last. A cold typically lasts several days, whereas allergy symptoms can last for several weeks or months.
Here are some other differentiators between cold and allergy symptoms:
Duration 3-14 Days Days to Months
Symptom Onset A few days Can be immediate
Fever Often Never
Mucus Discolored Clear and Runny
Cough Often Sometimes
Aches Sometimes Never
Fatigue Sometimes Sometimes
Itchiness Rarely Often
Sore Throat Often Sometimes
Runny Nose Often Often
Contagious Yes No
When you’re trying to understand your child’s symptoms, take the information from the chart above into account. Luckily for you, our talented Providers are in the office seven days a week to help with diagnosis. Whether it ends up being allergies or some kind of infection, we are dedicated to getting your little one feeling better, faster.
For more information on cold vs. allergy symptoms, call the Your Kid’s Urgent Care office nearest you.