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Symptom Checker: Allergies vs. a Cold

By Stepy Kamei

As the year draws to a close, you're more likely than ever to start feeling the first signs that point to something attacking your immune system and your body. A slight tickle in the throat, a little queasiness, aches and pains, maybe general fatigue are all starting to creep up as the day goes by. Before you know it, you're definitely feeling miserable. But what's actually to blame? Allergies, or the common cold? The symptoms between the two conditions can be surprisingly similar, and they both tend to flare up as the seasons and temperatures change. It can benefit you to know the difference between the two, so take a minute to keep on reading and learn more about what to expect with allergies versus the common cold.

Itchy Throat 

Most of us know we're coming down with something when we start to feel a slight itchiness in the back of the throat. It can be confusing to tell what this means, as this can be a common indicator of both an allergy as well as the common cold. However, an allergy is usually additionally accompanied by itchiness and wateriness in one or both eyes.

Meanwhile, irritation in the throat brought on by the common cold may actually end up hurting or feeling very sore within a few short hours. If you're experiencing pain while eating, drinking, or swallowing, but hot liquids and throat lozenges seem to help, you may be experiencing an illness as opposed to allergies.

Body Aches

If you're experiencing aches and pains in one or multiple areas of your body, this is more than likely a symptom of the cold, or even the flu, rather than allergies. Generally speaking, allergies do not cause muscle aches, cramping, or any kind of tension beyond itchiness.

Fever

Furthermore, you'll want to check to see if you have a fever as well. People who are running a temperature are doing so because their immune system is fighting off an infection from some sort of viral illness. This is not the body's natural response to fighting off allergies -- that response looks more like itchiness, watery eyes, and a consistently runny nose that doesn't seem to go away quickly.

Length of Symptoms

Finally, consider the length of your symptoms, and what brings them on. If they seem to come on suddenly and get better in a relatively short amount of time, you're probably dealing with a cold. However, if you're consistently experiencing symptoms over a longer period of time, especially when the seasons change, allergies are probably to blame.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Houston, Tex.

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