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Cold Versus Allergy: How to Tell The Difference?

  By Renita Tisha Pinto  posted Mar 11th 2013 at 6:30AM IN | Avg Rating
Healthy Living
Cold Allergy


Just as the winter bids good-bye and summer spring sets in, you get a nasty sore throat, sneezing, cough and congestion. So are these symptoms a sigh of cold or allergies? It is often hard to differentiate between cold and allergies and at times, even doctors find it difficult to detect. To help you to narrow down the difference between the two, we have Dr. K.M. Sunesara – General Physician, Mumbai with us. He has put together a guide which will help you differentiate between a cold and allergy.




It can last approximately between three to fourteen days.


When it occurs


 Usually it happens during winter, or change in temperature. But, it can also happen at any time of the year.


Occurrence of symptoms


 Symptoms take a few days to appear after infection with the virus.


Common symptoms


Cough and sore throat is very often, it can also be accompanied with body aches and fatigueness sometimes. Fever and itchy watery eyes can also be noticed, but it is rare scenario.




 Often a yellowish nasal discharge, due to an infection



Allergies are caused by an overactive immune system. For some reason, your body mistakes harmless substances like dust or pollen, for germs and attacks them. Your body releases chemicals such as histamine, just as it does when fighting a cold. This can cause swelling in your nasal passages, a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Allergies are not contagious, although some people may inherit a tendency to develop them.




It can last from days to months, as long as you are exposed to the allergen.


When it occurs


 It is not specific, when it can occur as it can happen any time of the year, although the appearances of some allergens are seasonal.


Occurrence of symptoms


 Symptoms can begin immediately after exposure to the allergen.


Common symptoms


Cough, sore throat and fatigueness is often, and often it can be accompanied with itchy, watery eyes. Fever is usually not seen.




Generally a clear, thin, watery discharge.  


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