How Do You Tell If You Have a Cold or Allergies?

How Do You Tell If You Have a Cold or Allergies?

The first week of school started for me like all of you.  And yes, we all got IT.  IT – is the cold that knocks you down for days and then passes it to anyone that looks in your direction.  It started with my daughter who brought it home, then me, then the boys , then my husband and even my two visiting elderly aunts from Miami.

I tried to prevent it – vitamin C, extra vitamins, orange juice, the wellness potions, I even take an elixir my husband makes that usually works (it’s a Chinese medicine recipe).  At first I was in denial.  This is allergies.  Because you hear stories this time of year and around May that says it is Chicago’s worst season ever!  Then the Minnesota fire was to blame.  But the truth was- We Had Colds!. The fire, soot, pollen, dust in the air may had made it worse, but we had a classic cold.

So how do you tell the difference between a cold and allergies?

I had found that the major differences between the two are the color of the snot, the sudden impact of symptoms and the eyes.

According to Health and a cold will last a week and allergies keep going.  But here is a summary of their tips.

  1. Early symptoms may be the same, but the allergies have more itchiness and the cold comes with more of a cough.
  2. Cold symptoms come on more gradually, allergies hit you at once and stay.  The cold builds with one or two symptoms, then adds on until everything is attacking you at once.
  3. Do the eyes itch like crazy and have a film over them. If so, probably allergies.
  4. Is there a fever?  This is the easy one – especially with ids, because I think kids gets fevers every time they have a cold. Whether it is late at night or in the middle of the night.  I don’t get the fever, but my little ones always do.
  5. What color is the snot? I think all moms know this.  Clear seems to be allergies and colorful leads one to think of a cold.

 An Odd Nose Test. mentioned a little trick, place a saccharine grain (like Sweet and Low) in your nostril and time how long it takes to takes the sweetness.  10-20 minutes is normal.  Longer than this indicates the cilia(the hair in the nose) is damaged.  So you may be more likely to get an infection or allergies.

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