Difference Between Allergies and Cold

by Garreth Myers


The symptoms of both allergies and colds are quite similar in nature. The difference lies in the factors that trigger these symptoms. Allergies are a result of a histamine response to irritants such as mold, pollen and dust mites. On the other hand, colds are a response to a viral infection in the body. There are numerous rhinoviruses that are known to cause a cold.

The difference between allergies and cold is also evident in the onset of the symptoms. The symptoms of allergies occur rather quickly. Runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and throat irritation are all experienced in just a few hours after the individual is exposed to the allergens. The symptoms of cold may occur over a period of some days. It may begin with a slight nasal congestion and a scratchy throat and then after a few days, a full blown cold will occur. The nasal discharge in case of allergies is also always thin and clear, while in case of a cold, the nasal discharge is thicker and may sometimes be white or yellow in color. In case there is green, dark yellow or brown nasal discharge in an allergy or cold, there is the possibility of a sinus infection. The time period for which the symptoms occur is also a differentiating factor. Seasonal allergies may last for a period of weeks or months, and tend to occur only during certain seasons. A cold many continue for one to two weeks and can occur during any time of the year. Some symptoms are common to both allergies and colds such as sneezing, headache, tiredness and coughing. However, colds caused by certain viruses may also lead to a fever. Allergies rarely cause fevers unless there is a sinus infection.

Treatment for allergies involves anti-allergy medications which help to relieve the symptoms. Some of the natural remedies for allergies include avoiding exposure to irritants such as pollen and dust, steam inhalation and use of a saline solution in the nose to flush out the irritants. Since colds are caused by viruses, it is not possible to cure them. The cold will subside and disappear on its own, but until then the symptoms may be relieved through the use of nasal drops and sprays. It also helps to drink hot soups or broths and to drink plenty of water to keep the nasal discharge flowing easily. Soreness of the throat could be alleviated by gargling with saline water.


Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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