Your nose is stuffy, and you are sneezing. Do you have seasonal allergies, or just a cold? Sometimes, it can be hard to tell the difference since many of the symptoms, including headaches, a sore throat and coughing, can be exactly the same.
Here are some clues to help you figure out the cause of your suffering.
- Do you find you experience symptoms at the same time every year? Symptoms that recur at the same time every year are more likely to be seasonal allergies. It can be hard to remember from year to year; try taking notes or noticing what is blooming when you have common symptoms to see if a pattern appears.
- Have a cold that never seems to go away? Chances are it is actually an allergy. Most colds are caused by viruses that run their course in about a week. Allergy symptoms can last for months or longer. Any time you have symptoms that do not resolve in 10-14 days, or symptoms that get worse after several days, see your doctor.
- Has your condition worsened into a sinus infection, bronchitis, an ear infection, or even asthma? Sorry, but that can be caused by either a cold or allergies.
- Have you developed wheezing, shortness of breath, or a severe cough? These can be signs of asthma and you should see your doctor.
- Do you have aches and pains? Then you probably have a cold or possibly the flu. If you have other flu symptoms, be sure to contact your doctor right away to discuss receiving an anti-viral medication.
- Do you have a low grade fever? Then it is probably a cold, unless you have developed a secondary infection. Treat low grade fevers at home, but if they last more than a few days or go higher, call your doctor.
- Do you have watery eyes? An allergy is the likely culprit.
- Do you have dark circles under your eyes, even when you get enough sleep? This can be a sign of allergies.