If you are unlucky enough to suffer from allergies, you recently got some good news. The non-drowsy antihistamine Allegra was released for over-the-counter sale just this March, giving allergy sufferers another choice for alleviating their symptoms.
But what if you’re not sure you’re suffering from allergies, or a plain old cold?
Respiratory allergies, commonly called “hay fever,” are triggered by allergens, which are often pollens this time of year. Colds are upper respiratory infections that are caused by viruses. Consult this symptom checklist to figure out what’s bringing you down – and for some tips on how to treat it.
Fever: A fever is usually not present with an allergy, but it may be with a cold. Medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may relieve pain and reduce your fever.
Unclear nasal discharge: White, yellow, or even green mucus could indicate a cold. Thin, clear mucus points to an allergy.
Sore throat: Scratchy throats are a characteristic of allergies, but an actual ache within the throat is a cold.
Congestion: Nasal stuffiness is a common symptom of a cold. Drinking plenty of fluids daily helps to keep the nasal passages clear and flushes toxins from your system. A room humidifier and a nasal spray may help as well.
Itchy, watery eyes: Allergies often cause inflammation of your eyes. Placing a cold washcloth over them may help decrease the problem, otherwise try an antihistamine eye drop.
Sneezing: An urge to sneeze incessantly is more likely caused by allergy. A saline nasal rinse may give some needed relief.
Coughing: Although both colds and allergies bring about this symptom, coughs last longer with allergies. If you have a cold with a dry cough, a cough suppressant may be helpful.
Duration of symptoms: Most colds last a couple of weeks, while allergies may last months. Additionally, the seasons may help determine if you have an allergy or a cold. Spring, summer, and fall are the common time for allergies, whereas most colds appear during the winter months.