Cold or allergy? These symptoms will help you tell the difference

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It’s difficult to tell the difference between an allergy, a seasonal virus or a simple cold when your nose runs. Fortunately, there are some clues to help you not get it all mixed up. Pay attention to the symptoms and remember what you did during the week; that’s a good start.

The buds are blooming, the sun is taking off its gray winter coat, everything is coming back to life, and pollen is flying everywhere to delight us with seasonal allergies. A real joy for our moods, but less so for our noses and red eyes.

Spring and pollen
But how can you distinguish these darn allergies, sometimes very unusual, from a little cold caused by the sudden temperature changes between winter and spring? We’ll explain it to you.

Runny noses, sneezing, and itchy eyes are symptoms reminiscent of a passing virus and an allergy, aren’t they? However, there is a way to distinguish between the two (or the three, if you include covid and flu).

Runny nose, red eyes and fever.

If you have itchy red eyes and a runny nose, that’s likely a sign of allergies. Conversely, fever, chills and muscle aches are more likely to be associated with seasonal flu-like viruses.

According to William Schaffner, medical director of the U.S. National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, it is very complex to distinguish between flu viruses, covid and other viruses such as adenoviruses, rhinoviruses or metapneumoviruses (Health), as he reports in Today.

Difficult to sort out symptoms
They are “almost impossible to tell apart in a patient,” he explains. “It’s hard to tell that one patient has the flu and another has human metapneumovirus, unless there’s already an epidemic in the community.”

So for Jody Tversky, an allergist and assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, we need to think logically and try as best we can to remember our past interactions throughout the week. She comments, according to Snacksafely.com:

If you tell us, “I never had allergies before, but I was at a dinner last week where three people tested positive for Covid, and today I have a stuffy nose and I’m very tired,” that’s very different than someone who has the same symptoms without having been exposed to a virus, plus a history of allergies.

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