The cold and allergies have some symptoms in common, so if you suffer from them, you may be wondering which one you have. Although the symptoms may be similar, the two ailments are quite different. A cold is caused by a virus, while allergies are caused by your immune system reacting to allergen exposure, such as pollen from grasses or certain trees. By understanding the differences between the two, you can make a better informed decision as to whether you look for the best cold and flu medicine for adults or allergy relief.
When trying to figure out what your symptoms mean, be aware of what symptoms are persistent, so you can decide to use homeopathic cold medicine or something for allergies. Common symptoms of both cold and seasonal allergies are sneezing, runny nose, and stuffy nose. However, other symptoms can help you differentiate between the two. Common symptoms of the cold include:
- Sore throat
- General aches and pains
On the other hand, a common symptom of seasonal allergies is itchy eyes, which rarely occurs if you have a cold. Some people may also experience a skin rash from allergies, which does not occur with the cold.
Another tip to differentiate the two is when they occur. Although there are seasons in which a cold is more common, it can occur at any time the virus is around. However, seasonal allergies generally only appear when one season changes to the next. Depending on what you are allergic to, you probably notice that your symptoms occur around the same time every year.
Spring is a very common time for seasonal allergies, when the trees start to bud and there is a lot of pollen in the air. If you are allergic to certain grasses, symptoms typically spike during late spring and through the summer months. Late summer and fall usually bring out ragweed allergies.
Another way to tell the difference between the two is if the symptoms ever disappear. A cold typically lasts five to 10 days, and the symptoms are present no matter what, unless you have taken medication to suppress them. However, allergy symptoms go away when you are not around the triggers.
Treatment Options for Both
Whether you have the cold or allergies, you probably want relief from symptoms as quickly as possible. For seasonal allergies, along with staying away from the environment that is causing the symptoms, you can take over the counter decongestants and antihistamines. However, these sometimes come with unwanted side effects. As an alternative, you can try homeopathic allergy medicine, which works with your body and does not affect other bodily systems.
There is also homeopathic medicine to help fight off a cold. For a sore throat, you can gargle with salt water, and to help with congestion, a humidifier or steamy bath can help loosen things up. You should also drink lots of clear liquids, get extra sleep, and increase your intake of vitamins like C and D.