Allergies vs Cold

allergies vs cold
How is a Cold different from Allergies?
Although they may share similar symptoms, colds and allergies are quite different. Understanding the underlying cause of each of these conditions can help you to distinguish one from the other.
What Is a Cold?
A cold occurs when a virus enters the body and causes an aggressive response from the body’s immune system. Symptoms of this immune response may include congestion, coughing, fever, sneezing, and runny nose. As long as you’re infected with the virus, you are contagious to others and can transfer the germs through coughing, sneezing, shaking hands, or sharing foods or beverages.
What Are Allergies?
Similar to colds, the symptoms of allergies are also triggered by aggressive responses from our immune systems. In the case of allergies, the cause is a specific allergen, not an invading virus. Unfortunately for some people, their immune system, designed to protect against infection, can become oversensitive, responding to environmental substances such as pollens, grasses, dust, molds, certain foods, pet dander, and insect venom among other things. During these allergic responses the body releases chemicals such as histamines that trigger allergy symptoms and make us feel sick.
Allergies vs Cold
Although they can have similar symptoms, allergies and cold viruses affect the body differently. To better assess what’s making you feel poorly, review the following comparison of symptoms.
Treatments
Minor colds typically last between 7 to 10 days, are self-limited, and require no treatment. Allergies, on the other hand, can cause persisting symptoms as long as a person continues to be exposed to the offending allergen. Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants can be used to limit symptoms from both afflictions. Individuals with chronic allergies may need ongoing medications medications such as nasal sprays, leukotriene inhibitors, or allergy shots to control their symptoms. If you experience cold symptoms for longer than seven days, it is a good idea to get the symptoms checked out.
PhysicianOne Urgent Care providers are available 7 days/week with extended hours to evaluate your symptoms when it works for your schedule. We can help determine whether you’re suffering from a seasonal respiratory virus, or seasonal allergies, and help provide relief.

Health News + Events

What Is RSV?

What Is RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)? Whether you have a child in school whose health you need to worry about or have simply heard about the term while watching the news latel  Read More

How to Treat Cuts & Scrapes: What You Need to Know

Cuts and scrapes can happen, oftentimes all too easily. When they do, it’s important to know how to treat them properly to prevent an infection from developing and promote faster  Read More

RSV: What you need to know

Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV) is a very common virus that causes infection of the nose, throat and lungs. By the time most children reach the age of 2, they have alre  Read More

What Our Patients Are Saying

Rating 4.6
Rating 4.2
Rating 4.6
Rating 5.0

"The overall care I received was excellent! I also appreciate your affiliation with Yale New Haven Hospital."

Patient
Derby, CT

"Throughout the visit I felt like the staff really cared. The Doctor took his time talking with me about my symptoms, and I felt like he listened to all my concerns and took that into consideration when recommending the right treatment. Thank you!"

Patient
Hamden, CT

"I had to take my son in for an ear infection following a sudden change in temperament at daycare. He was inconsolable the entire car ride but when we got there and by the time we left this care facility he was back to his normal happy go lucky little two year old boy. I highly recommend PhysicianOne Urgent Care."

Patient
Westwood, MA

"I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the attention you gave me last week. My son was started on antibiotics and ear drops. Within 24 hours he began to feel better. The poor kid had been going to school in tears because he was afraid of missing any more days, but feeling (and looking) just awful! He's not been able to even think about lacrosse practice, but thanks to starting him on antibiotics, he was thrilled to return to practice today."

Patient
Somers, NY