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Is It a Cold or Allergies?

By Stepy Kamei

Runny nose, sneezing, sore throat. When you get those familiar symptoms, it makes sense to quickly chalk it up to the fact that you're developing a cold. Or maybe you're having a flare-up of allergy symptoms? It can be confusing and even frustrating trying to tell the two apart! After all, how can you treat your symptoms and eventually hope to get better if you don't even know what you have? Read on to learn more about how to distinguish between these two common ailments, and how you can prevent them from affecting your health in the first place.

Spotting the (Subtle) Differences

At first, the symptoms seem to be incredibly similar. You may feel a tickling in your throat, congestion and pressure in your sinuses, a headache, and lots of sneezing and coughing. This is because these symptoms are all a result of the body's immune system attempting to fight off an invasive specimen. Whether the invader is a virus or an allergen though, can be more difficult to discern.

Fortunately, there are a few quick check-ins you can perform on yourself to try and make it easier to determine what's going on in your body. Start by asking yourself how and when, exactly, your symptoms kicked in. If they came on gradually, even over the course of a few days, chances are it's a cold. Meanwhile, allergy symptoms tend to appear swiftly, right after exposure to the allergen.

Another thing to check for is feelings of itchiness. This symptom is very common for allergies, but pretty uncommon for colds. Next, check for a fever or body aches. Allergies tend not to cause these, but a cold will. Finally, if your symptoms are lasting longer than two weeks, it's a safe bet to assume you're actually dealing with allergies.

As for the idea that allergies can eventually turn into colds? Doctors are quick to shoot that down as nothing more than a myth. Since allergies and colds come from two different causes, they don't have the ability to mix into one another.

Getting Treatment

If you're dealing with allergies, start by determining exactly what is causing your allergies to flare up. You may need to keep a log or meet with a healthcare professional if you're having trouble finding the source. Once you've figured it out, stay away from it as much as you possibly can. You can always consider taking antihistamines for relief as well.

As for the cold? While there is no cure, since it changes all the time, it's best to get as much rest as you can. Drink plenty of fluids and consider over-the-counter medications if you're really struggling with the symptoms. As always, consult a healthcare professional to find the right treatment plan for you.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Durham, N.C.

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