Is It Spring Allergies or Cold Symptoms?

April 7, 2018
Cold or Spring Allergies

If you’re a resident of Massachusetts, Connecticut, or New York, you’re well aware that the onset of spring brings warm weather, rain, flowers, and often a host of uncomfortable symptoms such as coughing, congestion, and runny noses. But is it a common cold or allergies triggering these symptoms? Distinguishing between the two can be challenging, so below are some tips to help determine the cause of your stuffy nose.

Distinguishing Between a Cold & Allergies

Distinguishing between a common cold and allergies can be challenging due to their overlapping symptoms, but there are key differences to consider. A cold is caused by a viral infection and can last five to seven days, often presenting symptoms such as coughing, body aches, fatigue, and occasionally fever.  

On the other hand, allergies are triggered by exposure to allergens like pollen, dust, or pet dander, leading to symptoms like sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes, and sometimes a sore throat. Allergy symptoms can persist for days to months, especially if the allergen exposure continues. Here are some key differentiators to keep in mind:

Common Colds:

  • Caused by over 200 different viruses.
  • Spread through respiratory droplets.
  • Symptoms typically last five to seven days.
  • Occur commonly in winter but possible at any time.
  • Symptoms appear a few days after viral infection.

Spring Allergies:

  • Not contagious; caused by exposure to allergens like dust, dander, mold, or pollen.
  • Symptoms triggered immediately after exposure to allergens.
  • Symptoms can persist for days to months with continued exposure.
  • Allergens may appear seasonally.
  • Histamines released by the immune system trigger symptoms like runny nose, coughing, and sneezing.

When to See a Doctor for Spring Allergies

Knowing when to seek medical attention for spring allergies is essential for effective management. If over-the-counter antihistamines or other allergy medications fail to alleviate symptoms adequately, or if symptoms persist despite treatment, it may be time to consult a healthcare professional. Additionally, if allergy symptoms significantly impact daily activities, sleep quality, or overall well-being, seeking medical advice is advisable. Moreover, individuals with underlying health conditions such as asthma, which may worsen during allergy season, should consider seeing a medical provider for personalized management strategies.  

Furthermore, if allergy symptoms are accompanied by signs of infection such as fever, severe headache, or green/yellow nasal discharge, it's crucial to seek medical evaluation promptly to rule out complications. By consulting our healthcare professionals here at PhysicianOne Urgent Care, you can receive tailored treatment plans, potentially including prescription medications or allergy testing, to better manage your spring allergy symptoms and improve quality of life.  

Receive Comprehensive Cold & Allergy Treatment Today

Here at PhysicianOne Urgent Care, we’re pleased to offer cold and allergy treatment at our urgent care centers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. Our providers are available 365 days per year with extended hours to evaluate your symptoms when it works for your schedule, and we also offer a 24/7 integrated telehealth service. We can help discuss which options are best for you to treat seasonal allergies or colds and help provide relief, fast.  

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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.
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