June 22, 2011

Round One: Allergies vs. the Common Cold

Women SneezingApproximately 60 million Americans are affected by allergic rhinitis, a condition caused by the grass and tree pollen released during the spring. The symptoms of allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever, are very similar to those of the common cold. Most people tend to mix the two up. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, colds and allergies do have the same symptoms; however both are very different from each other. Noticing the different signs of allergies and the cold is the first step to getting relief from your symptoms.

Unlike colds, allergies are not contagious. Allergies are caused by many different allergens, such as pollen, which make the immune system overreact. Hence, the allergic reaction one undergoes. The common cold is different from allergies because the cold is caused by 200 different possible viruses and is very contagious.

Furthermore, the first step towards relief is to distinguish between the symptoms of allergies and colds. Colds tend to start with a stuffy nose, throat irritation, and a lower fever which is followed by sneezing and a runny nose with thick yellow or green mucus. On the other hand, allergies have symptoms which include sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, and mucus that is clear.

Also, colds generally last from one to two weeks. However, allergies are more persistent and worsen with repeated exposure to an allergen. Aches and fevers are likely related to a cold. Symptoms such as itchy eyes indicate an allergy. If you are unsure of which medical condition you have it is recommended to go seek professional help in order to provide allergy relief.