Colds versus Allergies

Do you know the difference between an allergy reaction and a cold? Many people may not realize they actually have allergies and may be blaming their sniffles and sinus congestion on a cold. The problem with untreated allergies is that the condition can cause more serious health concerns - like sinusitis and ear infection. That's the main reason to be certain if you are suffering from an allergy or not.

The following chart indicates the differences between an allergy and a cold, by comparing symptoms, warning time and typical duration for each. This chart is a handy tool to place on your fridge so you'll know whether to get out the orange juice and cough syrup or the allergy medication.

Allergies Colds
Symptoms Symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, and wheezing, watery and itchy eyes. Can include coughing. Symptoms can include fever, aches and pains along with allergy-like symptoms.
Warning Time Symptoms can begin almost immediately after exposure, although they may be subtle. Symptoms of a cold usually take a few days to hit full-force.
Duration Symptoms can last as long as you're exposed to the allergen and often beyond. They can last until the reaction triggered by the allergen works its way out of your body. If the allergen is present year round, your symptoms may be chronic. Symptoms should clear up with several days to a week.

March 2002
Source: USA Today

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