Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Is it a Cold or Allergies?

Allergy season came early this year!  We've already got a number of folks coming in for runny nose, congestion, cough, etc.  So is it allergies or is it a cold?

It is sometimes hard to tell because a lot of the symptoms may overlap.   Here is a great chart from webMD that summarizes the difference:

Characteristic
Cold
Allergy
Duration
three-14 days
Days to months -- as long as you are exposed to the allergen
Time of Year
Most often in the winter, but possible at any time
Any time of the year -- although the appearance of some allergens are seasonal
Onset of symptoms
Symptoms take a few days to appear after infection with the virus.
Symptoms can begin immediately after exposure to the allergen
Symptom
Cold
Allergy
Cough
Often
Sometimes
Aches
Sometimes
Never
Fatigue
Sometimes
Sometimes
Fever
Rarely
Never
Itchy, watery eyes
Rarely
Often
Sore throat
Often
Sometimes
Runny or stuffy nose
Often; usually yellow mucus
Often; usually clear mucus

Last year, I did a Q&A with my cousin, Dr Joann Lin, who is an allergist in Dallas, TX.  If you have further questions you want to ask, you can email them to me at ellenkimmd@gmail.com and I'll compile another Q&A post with her.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting the chart. That should make things a whole lot easier. Of course, consulting an expert should never be left out of the equation, especially if there are any uncertainties.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes! When in doubt or to get better relief, go to your doctor!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It is sometimes hard to determine especially if your allergies do not regularly occur. I hope there are colds and sore throat home remedies that could be used whether it's allergy or fever or flu.

    ReplyDelete

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