Springtime Sniffles – Common Cold or Allergies?

Woman suffering from allergies

It’s finally spring! Your nose is runny, your throat is sore, and you can’t stop coughing. You might think you’ve got the common cold, but it could also be allergies. Springtime sniffles can confuse you like that. While these two conditions have similar symptoms, there are various differences between allergies and a cold.

You need to know about their characteristic symptoms so you can act accordingly. So how can you tell which one is affecting you? Keep reading as we explore the differences between the common cold vs. allergies.

What is the Common Cold?

The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory system, including the nose and throat. There are over 200 viruses that can cause the common cold; Parainfluenza and Rhinovirus are among the most common ones.

Adults may catch the cold 2-3 times a year, but children and seniors are even more susceptible. One of the differences between allergies and colds is that you can come down with a cold any time of the year whereas allergies tend to flare up around the same time each year. A brief contact with the virus is enough to make you sick.

What are Allergies?

Allergies are your body’s response to substances your immune system mistakenly deems as harmful. Over 100 million Americans have allergies that intensify during springtime.

These extreme reactions by the immune system occur when you are exposed to triggers such as pollen, mold, dust mites, etc. Your body produces compounds like histamine to fight these invaders. Histamine creates the symptoms most people mistake for the common cold such as sniffles, sneezes, and more.

Common Cold Vs. Allergies

The symptoms for these two conditions can be very similar, but there are ways to tell them apart. Here are the differences between allergies and colds to help you distinguish the two.

Mucus Color

You will get clear and liquid mucus whether you have a cold or an allergy, but the difference becomes evident as your condition progresses. If you have a cold, your mucus will likely get thicker and more yellow. If you have an allergy, it will usually remain clear and watery.

Itchy and Watery Eyes

The second difference between these two conditions is in the eyes. A cold might make your eyes slightly red, but they won’t become itchy. If you have a cold, you may feel itchiness in your throat and nose instead. Itchy and watery eyes are often a distinguishing characteristic of allergies which may be treated with allergy medications.

Type of Cough

Another difference between allergies and colds is the type of cough you have. With both conditions, you may have a dry cough. The distinguishing factor is what comes after it. If you cough up mucus, then you likely have a cold. However, if it’s just a dry cough, even with a bit of throat irritation, you probably have an allergy.

Body Aches

Do you find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning? Does your body hurt all over when you move? Body aches are a good indicator that you might be dealing with a cold. Common cold often causes body aches that make maneuvering difficult vs allergies which often make you feel tired and worn out.


One of the main differences between allergies and colds is in body temperature. The common cold is often, but not always, accompanied by a fever. On the other hand, seasonal allergies don’t raise your body temperature. Severe allergic reactions may cause a fever, in which case it’s best to seek emergency treatment.

Contagious or Not

Colds are contagious. You can transmit them through the respiratory droplets you release into the air when you sneeze or cough. Allergies, on the other hand, are not. You may develop an allergic reaction to an environmental trigger, but you can’t transmit that bodily response to another person.

Appearance of Symptoms

How long did it take for your symptoms to appear? This rate is another difference between allergies and a cold. Symptoms of the common cold often appear over a few days. Meanwhile, signs of allergies can appear seemingly out of nowhere once you encounter the allergen. Depending on the severity of your allergies, symptoms may occur in as little as minutes, while others may take longer to show signs.

Lingering Symptoms

A sick man wiping his nose with a tissue

Another difference between the common cold vs allergies is how long the symptoms last. A cold doesn’t usually last more than a week or two. However, the symptoms of allergies will linger as long as you’re exposed to the allergen. This means you can have allergic reactions for an entire season, but your symptoms can disappear if you move away from the trigger.

Symptoms Not Changing

Another difference between allergies and colds is how the symptoms progress over time. With a cold, the symptoms often worsen as the disease progresses. With allergies, the symptoms may be intense for the first few days. After that, they usually remain at the same level until the allergen is removed.

A Seasonal Pattern

Lastly, what distinguishes allergies from colds is often when they occur. Do you develop symptoms at similar times each year? Perhaps every spring, like clockwork? Then you’re probably dealing with seasonal allergies since springtime is when the air is filled with pollen.

What to Do if You Have a Cold

By knowing the differences between allergies and colds, you can better tell which one is affecting you. If it’s the common cold, the most important thing you can do is rest. Various remedies are available for treating a cold at home. You can give them a try while taking your cold medicine. You can order legitimate medications online from trusted pharmacies to save yourself a trip to the pharmacy.

What to Do if You Have an Allergy

The first thing to do if you have allergies vs the common cold is limit your exposure to the allergen. One of the distinguishing differences between allergies and colds is that it’s possible to stay away from the source of your affliction.

In springtime, the common allergen is likely pollen. You can keep track of pollen count in your area by using a weather tracking app or website and close your windows on high-pollen count days. To manage your symptoms, consider over-the-counter allergy solutions or mail order your medications from cheaper online pharmacies to save on the costs.

Manage Your Symptoms With Inhouse Pharmacy

Now that you know the differences between allergies and colds, you can more easily tell which one you have. Either one of them can cause irritating symptoms that can ruin your day. Inhouse Pharmacy is here to help you manage those symptoms!

Our reliable online pharmacy has been helping happy customers manage their diseases for years. We can offer you the same high-quality medications with affordable pricing and free worldwide shipping. Start your journey with us today and order your medicine from the comfort of your home. Don’t hesitate to contact our responsive customer service if you have any questions.

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