Cold or allergies – quick tips on how to tell | RetailMeNot Rx Saver

With the arrival of allergy season, it can become difficult to distinguish between a common cold or allergies. How you approach treatment is often dependent on which symptoms you are experiencing.

Common colds are generally caused by viruses, while seasonal allergies are responses by your immune system to combat allergens. The treatment options vary. According to the Mayo Clinic, treatments for the common cold may include pain relievers, rest and over-the-counter cold remedies, while allergy remedies often consist of over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines, nasal sprays and decongestants.

The National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases says the duration of the common cold can last 3 to 14 days, whereas airborne allergies can last several weeks! This time range can influence how cold and allergy treatment is approached – meaning you don’t want to focus on treating a short-term cold if you are experiencing long-term allergies.

Read more about how to tell the difference between allergies and asthma.

When cold season transitions into allergy season, it can be tricky to tell what you are experiencing. For example, a runny or stuffy nose and sneezing could mean you either have allergies or a cold, whereas a fever is never tied to allergies, but in some instances can be associated with a cold. Sometimes the symptoms can clearly define a cold or allergies though. Take for example general aches and pains – if you are experiencing this, you most likely have a cold, not allergies. Or if you have itchy eyes – you probably have allergies, since that symptom is rarely associated with the common cold.

Here’s a chart to help you check your symptoms
to see if you are experiencing a cold or allergies

Cold or Allergy Checker

Allergy and cold treatments can get pricey, especially if a doctor has written you a prescription for a recommended treatment. Be sure to check our website or mobile tools to find the lowest price before filling your prescription.

*Information provided by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases