Sneaky Sneeze: Is it a Cold or Allergies?


Pollen season will soon be in full bloom: a season of congestion, sneezing, and runny noses. But this is also the time of year people often mistake their allergy symptoms for a common cold. Allergies and the cold can share similar symptoms, but it’s important to know the difference between the two and treat them the right way.

When you have a cold

How to Treat Seasonal Allergies


You generally get a little bit worse over the course of a few days. A cold starts with a tickle in the back of your throat and may lead to a sore throat and congestion within a day or two. You’ll most likely experience:

  • sore throat
  • congestion
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • slight body aches
  • fatigue

You may experience have a normal temperature or a low-grade fever. Luckily, common colds usually last only a few days (although a mild cough may linger for a few weeks).

When you have allergies

Most seasonal allergies involve itchy eyes, nose, and throat. While you may have sneezing and a cough, you generally won’t get a fever or body aches.

While allergies can occur at any time of year, most people experience these symptoms in the spring or fall. Unfortunately, you might have allergic symptoms for a while depending on what you are reacting to.

If you have lived in the area for a long time, you may notice a pattern to when you get allergies based on what is in bloom. If you are new to the area, you might experience different symptoms than you did before depending on your reaction to local plants.

What to do about it?

Antihistamines (available over the counter) usually work well to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms.

If you feel like you’re out of over-the-counter options and need some fast relief, be sure to work with a doctor to make a treatment plan. Need a quick diagnosis? Get to the bottom of what’s causing those sniffles and sneezes: use Connect Care to see a provider now. Relief is just a click away.