Category Archives: Allergy vs. Cold

Allergiest vs. Cold by NYC top Allergist

Cold, Flu or Allergy? A Look at the Differences

In many cases, we might dismiss symptoms of allergies as a common cold or flu. But in some cases, this could actually mask something more serious. Knowing if you’re actually suffering from a form of allergy or just the common flu will not only allow you to treat your condition better but will allow you to prevent it as well. In this article, we will give you a few tips on how to identify each condition.

What Are Allergies and Colds Exactly?

Before you can tell the difference between colds and allergies, it’s important that you understand how each condition affects your body first. First of all, when you get the flu or a cold, the condition is caused by a virus. Once that virus enters your system, your immune system will counter-attack. This is what will be at the root of your symptoms.

One of the biggest differences between both conditions is that colds are contagious. You pick them up from other carriers. This means you can protect yourself from them by limiting contact. And after a few days or weeks, the virus is gone.

But with allergens, your immune system mistakenly identifies non-harmful intruders as viruses and start an immune reaction. This could be triggered by something like dust or pollen for instance. But where it gets tricky is that both conditions will release histamines into the body, which will make symptoms confusing. And allergies aren’t contagious either.

How Are They Different?

Colds and allergies differ in many ways. First there’s duration. A common cold or flu will only last a couple of weeks max, whereas allergies can last for months. Colds will also have a tendency to manifest during the winter, while allergies can manifest all year long, though there might be some peak seasons for things like pollen for instance.

With viruses like the cold, symptoms may start showing up only after a few days after you’ve been infected. With allergies, it’s instant. Symptoms will be very different as well. With a cold, you might experience aches or fever, while this will be largely nonexistent with allergies.

So How Do I Know Which is Which?

One of the easiest ways to know if you’re dealing with a flu or cold or an allergy is the duration. If the symptoms last more than two weeks, then it could be a sign that you’re dealing with allergies. On the other hand, if your symptoms are aggravating, then it could be a sign of something more serious.

If you think your symptoms are consistent with allergies, then it would be wise to consult an allergist today so that you can undergo testing. If that is the case, contact us today to schedule an appointment with the best allergist in New York.

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