Difference Between Allergies And A Cold

With so many similar symptoms i.e. Sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, etc. it’s no wonder it’s hard to tell if you have an allergy or a cold. To help you dispel any doubts, you need to know what allergies have in common and how they differ from colds. With all this information, you will soon be able to figure out what you are going through.

Difference between allergies and a cold

A pollen allergy, known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, often has cold-like symptoms. If you’re not sure if you have a pollen allergy or a cold, read on!

What are the symptoms of Allergy And Cold?

If you have a cold or allergies, you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • I cover my nose
  • sneeze
  • crying eyes
  • cough

Besides knowing what they have in common, it might be more helpful to know the difference between an allergy and a cold.

4 Common Symptoms Of Allergy:

The following symptoms are more common with allergies than with a cold:

  • itchy eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Itching or worsening of eczema symptoms.
  • Wheezing or worsening of asthma symptoms

Cold Symptoms:

There are other cold symptoms that are rarely seen with allergies. If you also have any of the following symptoms, you are more likely to catch a cold:

  • Aches and pains, which may include pressure on the face/ears
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • High fever, fever or sweating

Body aches and fever are more related to colds than allergies. Although the throat can be affected by allergies or colds, the sensations are usually different.

In general, “you feel tired if you have a cold, and if you have an allergy, you feel itchy. The same goes for the eyes: cold or pollen allergy symptoms can include watery eyes, but are more common with allergies when they’re also prone to itchiness”.

Read Also: Difference Between Cold And Flu (Symptoms And Treatment)

Biggest Difference Between Allergy and Cold

The common cold is caused by a series of viruses that spread through the air when a person coughs or sneezes. The cold is contagious. Allergies, on the other contrary, are not (although the tendency to develop allergies can be hereditary).

Allergic reactions occur when your immune system reacts to a certain substance as if it were harmful by producing histamine.

Three ways to tell if you have a cold or allergy?

1. Time

Hay fever is seasonal, so the timing of your symptoms can help you determine whether you have a pollen allergy or a cold. If you consistently experience symptoms around the same time of year (usually in spring or summer), it’s most likely an allergy. While you can catch a cold any time of the year, it occurs more often in the winter.

2. Beginning

With a cold, the symptoms appear gradually, one after another. They usually start mild, then get worse, and then disappear. In contrast, allergy symptoms usually appear quickly, immediately and consistently.

3. Duration

The duration of symptoms can also help you determine whether they are caused by a cold or a pollen allergy. A cold usually lasts a week and should go away with rest. However, allergies do not go away until the causative factor is identified or treatment is started. Seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, can last for several weeks or as long as the allergen is present.

When to go to the doctor?

Tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve with treatment, last more than 10 days, get worse, or if you develop a rash or fever.

Difference Between Allergies And Cold in Tabular Form



Stuffy nose. Stuffy nose.
Runny nose. Runny nose.
Sneezing.  Sneezing. 
Itchy, And water eyes. Itchy, And water eyes.
Cough is possible. Cough is common. 
Thin, Watery. Clear Mucus.  Thick, Yellow or green mucus. 
Tired. Tires
Sore throat sometimes. Sore throat is common. 
Uncommon to feel ashes/pain.  General pains/ashes are common. 
Not associated with fever. Rarely have a fever.

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