Allergies vs Colds: How to tell the difference, and how to get back to feeling better fast

It’s that time of year again. You know, the time of year when you get that tickle in your throat and you can’t tell if you’re getting sick or if it’s just the amount of pollen in the air. Or when your child’s nose suddenly is always running and you’re praying it’s just allergies and not a cold.

Allergies can cause a variety of different symptoms, such as congestion, sneezing, itching, runny nose, rash, and more. Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate between allergies and a cold. Here are some ways that you can help tell the difference:

·         Itchy eyes are common for seasonal allergies, but rare for colds.

·         Notice the color of the nasal discharge. Green/Yellow is a good sign of a cold or infection. Clear generally means allergies.

·         Look at the duration of your symptoms. Are you getting better fast or are the symptoms there every time you go outside?

·         If you have a fever or body aches, this is probably a sign of a cold.

·         Does your nose itch? Itchy noses are more a sign of allergies than an infection.

If you have allergies, you’re not alone. As many as 50 million people, about 1 in 5, struggle with allergies. If you find yourself struggling this pollen season, here are a few things you can try to help breathe easier.

·         Start the treatment early: There are several over the counter medicines that can help with allergies, and the earlier you treat them, the faster you can get to feeling better.

·         Use an air purifier inside: Having a filter that will help clean the air will drastically decrease the amount of pollen you’re breathing in.

·         Eye drops: When you have itchy eyes, using eye drops can give you some quick relief.

·         Nasal irrigation: Try rinsing your nose out with salty water. A neti-pot is a great way to do this.

If the allergy medicine isn’t working, you may want to speak to your doctor about allergy testing. After some pricks to your arm you can get a better idea of what allergens are causing the trigger, and then you’ll know what to stay away from to stay feeling healthy. If it turns out that your sniffly nose is actually a cold, come on in to MainStreet Family Urgent Care and let us get you checked out and back to feeling better fast!