Learn to differentiate cold from allergy: symptoms and treatments

Learn to differentiate cold from allergy: symptoms and treatments

The time of year when these conditions appear begins and although they share some similar signs, understanding the differences will help you choose the best treatment to counteract them.

In this note we will always talk about the common cold, an acute disease of the upper respiratory tract that is characterized by a runny nose and runny nose, congestion, cough and sore throat and that it is not the flu because high fever generally does not appear (for 3 or 4 days), as well as headache, fatigue, general discomfort and pain.

On the other hand, allergy, which occurs as an abnormal reaction of the body because it responds in an exaggerated way when it comes into contact with a substance from outside defined as an allergen, to which, normally, most other individuals do not react. . So an allergic reaction is then an exaggerated defensive attempt that occurs in some people we call allergic.

There are different types of allergies, but in this note we talk about respiratory allergy: caused by inhaling allergens, for example, pollen, house dust, fungi or animal hair.

How to differentiate these conditions?

Duration: The allergy usually lasts for several weeks, and also coincides with the time when the pollen concentration is highest. In contrast, a cold usually lasts between five and seven days.

Mucus: If we have an allergy, the mucus that comes out of the nose is always very liquid and constant. However, in a cold, it can be very fluid for the first few days, but then it becomes thick and even difficult to expel.

Sneezing: They are frequent in both disorders. But if there is also an itchy throat, they may be indicating an allergy.

Itchy eyes: In a common cold we can have swelling in the eyes and make them watery and tired. Tearing is more typical of allergy.

Physical fatigue: Allergy causes more fatigue than cold. The affected person may have difficulty doing daily activities and vary their mood, irritability, sleep problems and insomnia.

Lack of concentration: If your head feels dull, and your intellectual performance is lower, you probably have an allergy.

Timing is key: Allergy symptoms worsen on sunny and windy days, which is not the case with colds.

Difficulty breathing: Although it does not occur in all cases, a mild pollen allergy can lead to asthma over the years if it is not treated in time.


There is no cure for the common cold. Antibiotics are not helpful against common cold viruses and should not be used unless there is a bacterial infection. Treatment is aimed at alleviating the signs and symptoms. Nasal decongestants and the most commonly used analgesics and antipyretics, including acetylsalicylic acid, paracetamol, and ibuprofen, are useful. Also medicines against throat irritation, antitussives, mucolytics and expectorants.


Video: Treating allergies: How to control your allergies (August 2021).