Are you sneezing a lot? Is your nose running? Do you feel congested? The common assumption would be that you have a cold. However, these symptoms could be something else, something not contagious at all. It could be a seasonal allergy.
Colds and allergies share similar symptoms and it is often hard to detect which is which. A cold usually comes with cough, sore throat and aches and pains. Seasonal allergies (also known as hay fever) usually means itchy eyes and a blocked-up nose.
The common cold is a contagious viral infection that enters your body and attacks the immune system. Your immune system will try to fight back which is why you experience symptoms such as a runny nose, congestion in your sinuses, coughs, sore throat, body aches or even a fever. As a viral illness, it can be transmitted via the air through a cough or sneeze.
The common cold is a contagious viral infection, best treated with lots of rest.
Currently there is no cure for the common cold, however many people use over-the-counter products and home remedies to help the recovery process. Doctors typically recommend plenty of rest as the best way to get better quickly. It is important to prioritize your recovery when you develop the infection, as some strains of the virus can be fatal.
It’s really a different case for allergies. Allergies are not contagious, but rather triggered by dust or other allergens that irritate your nasal passage. Many people have an allergic reaction at the beginning of spring, but may also be triggered during summer and fall. During these seasons there is a lots of pollen in the air, a common allergen. If you find that your nose is extremely itchy at the start of spring, it is likely you are having an allergic reaction to pollen. Your body will detect the irritant in your system and try to expel it through sneezing and the production of mucus.
Many people have allergic reactions during spring and summer due to the increased amount of pollen in the air.
Allergies can also cause itchy and reddish eyes – allergic conjunctivitis – and in some cases, rashes or hives on your face. These are sure signs that you are dealing with an allergy.
Additional clues as to what you are suffering from include the weather, and the duration of your illness. Colds are more common during winter or in areas with a damp and rainy climate, and most people recover within two weeks. Allergies are more common during spring and summer when there are lots of irritants in the air, and can sometimes last for months!
If you find yourself feeling sick for more than two weeks, it’s a smart idea to consult a doctor for a professional opinion, especially if you are considering taking medication. This is particularly important for patients with a higher risk, such as children or the elderly.
Need to find a doctor or allergist? Download the EZBZ app for free and we’ll connect you with reputable professionals in your area, who will chat with you directly through the app. You can also call our concierge team toll-free on 1-855-461-8619 for a local recommendation.