How Can I Tell the Difference Between Allergies and a Common Cold?

Allergies are extremely common right now. Millions of Americans suffer from the sneezes and sniffles during this time of year, but how can everyone be sure that allergies are, indeed, what they’re experiencing? Couldn’t the symptoms be a sign of a common cold, too?

Our AFC Urgent Care Sevierville team offers some helpful answers to these questions below, so keep reading!

How Are Cold Symptoms Different Than Allergies?

While the symptoms of seasonal allergies and the symptoms of a regular cold are similar in many respects, there are a few differences. To begin with, itching in the eyes or nose is more common among allergies and less common in colds.

The color of your mucus is another telltale symptom of seasonal allergies. When you have a cold, your mucus will be yellowish and thick; however, when you have seasonal allergies, your mucus will be thin, clear and watery. A few more common seasonal allergy symptoms are listed below.

Common Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

  • Itchy, watery or red eyes
  • Circles under eyes
  • Itchy mouth, nose or throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Drainage from the nose down the back of the throat (postnasal drip)
  • Temporary loss of smell
  • Headache
  • Sneezing

How Can I Treat Allergies?

One of the best things you can do is to limit your exposure to triggers. Pollen is the most common allergy trigger during the spring, so spending more indoors and showering after being outside to remove pollen or other allergens from the surface of your skin are some of the most helpful tactics.

We’ve listed a few more ways you can reduce your symptoms below.

Ways to Reduce Allergy Symptoms

  • Take an over-the-counter antihistamine or decongestant. Medicines such as Claritin and Zyrtec will lead to less inflammation and irritation, which can make your daily life much more bearable during allergy season.
  • If you are dealing with lots of congestion, consider rinsing your sinuses with saline solution. This will flush out mucus and allergens from your nose.
  • Keep indoor air clean. You can do this by using a dehumidifier and vacuuming regularly. This will reduce the amount of harmful allergens that make their way inside the home.

Want to learn more about allergies? Our AFC team can provide the info and care you need today, so don’t hesitate to call or visit!