What are the symptoms of a cold vs allergies

What are the symptoms of a cold vs allergies

Allergic rhinitis can lead to complications in some cases.

These include:

  1. sinusitis – an infection caused by nasal inflammation and swelling that prevents mucus draining from the sinuses
  2. nasal polyps – abnormal but non-cancerous (benign) sacs of fluid that grow inside the nasal passages and sinuses
  3. middle ear infections – infection of part of the ear located directly behind the eardrum

These problems can often be treated with medication, although surgery is sometimes needed in severe or long-term cases.

Find out more about the complications of allergic rhinitis


Non-allergic rhinitis

Not every cases of rhinitis are caused by an allergic reaction.

What are the symptoms of a freezing vs allergies

Some cases are the result of:

  1. oversensitive blood vessels in the nose
  2. an infection, such as the common cold
  3. overuse of nasal decongestants

This type of rhinitis is known as non-allergic rhinitis.

Sheet final reviewed: 29 April 2019
Next review due: 29 April 2022

Itchy eyes, a congested nose, sneezing, wheezing and hives: these are symptoms of an allergic reaction caused when plants release pollen into the air, generally in the spring or drop.

Numerous people use hay fever as a colloquial term for these seasonal allergies and the inflammation of the nose and airways.

But hay fever is a misnomer, said Dr. Jordan Josephson, an ear, nose and throat doctor and sinus specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

«It is not an allergy to hay,» Josephson, author of the book «Sinus Relief Now» (Perigee Trade, 2006), told Live Science. «Rather, it is an allergy to weeds that pollinate.»

Doctors and researchers prefer the phrase allergic rhinitis to describe the condition.

More than 50 million people experience some type of allergy each year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

What are the symptoms of a freezing vs allergies

In 2017, 8.1% of adults and 7.7% of children reported own allergic rhinitis symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Worldwide, between 10 and 30% of people are affected by allergic rhinitis, Josephson said.

In 2019, spring arrived early in some parts of the country and later in others, according to the National Phenology Network (NPN). Spring brings blooming plants and, for some, lots of sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and runny noses. According to NPN data, spring reared its head about two weeks early in areas of California, Nevada and numerous of the Southern and Southeastern states.

What are the symptoms of a freezing vs allergies

Much of California, for example, is preparing for a brutal allergy season due to the large quantity of winter rain. On the other hand, spring ranged from about one to two weeks tardy in the Northwest, the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic U.S. [Watch a Massive ‘Pollen Cloud’ Explode from Late-Blooming Tree]


When to see a GP

Visit a GP if the symptoms of allergic rhinitis are disrupting your sleep, preventing you carrying out everyday activities, or adversely affecting your performance at work or school.

A diagnosis of allergic rhinitis will generally be based on your symptoms and any possible triggers you may own noticed.

If the cause of your condition is uncertain, you may be referred for allergy testing.

Find out more about diagnosing allergic rhinitis


Treating and preventing allergic rhinitis

It’s hard to completely avoid potential allergens, but you can take steps to reduce exposure to a specific allergen you know or suspect is triggering your allergic rhinitis. This will assist improve your symptoms.

If your condition is mild, you can also assist reduce the symptoms by taking over-the-counter medications, such as non-sedating antihistamines, and by regularly rinsing your nasal passages with a salt water solution to hold your nose free of irritants.

See a GP for advice if you own tried taking these steps and they own not helped.

They may prescribe a stronger medication, such as a nasal spray containing corticosteroids.


Symptoms of allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis typically causes cold-like symptoms, such as sneezing, itchiness and a blocked or runny nose.

These symptoms usually start soon after being exposed to an allergen.

Some people only get allergic rhinitis for a few months at a time because they’re sensitive to seasonal allergens, such as tree or grass pollen. Other people get allergic rhinitis every year round.

Most people with allergic rhinitis own mild symptoms that can be easily and effectively treated.

But for some people symptoms can be severe and persistent, causing sleep problems and interfering with everyday life.

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis occasionally improve with time, but this can take numerous years and it’s unlikely that the condition will vanish completely.



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A Cold

  1. What triggers it: A virus.
  2. What it feels like: You can expect a stuffy nose, but also some runny, discolored mucus, Goldsobel explains. You may also experience a sore throat, cough, sneezing, headache, or fatigue.

    Another sign is a rising temperature: Colds often trigger a fever, he says, but sometimes those fevers are so mild that people ponder they own allergies instead.

  3. How endless it lasts: People generally fend off the freezing virus (without treatment) within seven to 10 days, Baroody says. But if your symptoms own lingered past that window of time, you might own sinusitis. If you suspect you own a sinus infection, you should talk to your doctor.

An Allergic Reaction

  1. What triggers it: Allergens cause an allergic reaction.

    Common indoor allergens include mold, dust, and animal dander, while outdoor triggers include pollen and ragweed.

  2. What it feels like: You may experience some nasal congestion with allergies, but it generally accompanies a runny nose (clear, watery discharge), sneezing, and itchy nose and eyes. Allergies never cause a fever, Goldsobel notes.
  3. How endless it lasts: If you own seasonal allergies, you may struggle with allergy symptoms throughout the spring and drop, Dr.

    What are the symptoms of a freezing vs allergies

    Baroody says. If you're allergic to indoor allergens, you may experience symptoms year-round.

How to Treat Congestion

Because sinus infections, colds, and allergies share some similar symptoms, including congestion, medications love nasal sprays, oral antihistamines, and eye drops can assist minimize your discomfort.

If allergies are to blame, do your best to avoid your known triggers and steer clear of any other potential irritants, such as smoke or air pollution.

Long-term treatments love immunotherapy (allergy shots) can assist desensitize you to allergens and improve symptoms over time.

When Colds and Allergies Cause Sinus Infections

Even if your sinus congestion is being caused by allergies or a freezing, it doesn’t mean you won’t develop a sinus infection later on.

In fact, when people own colds or allergies, the lining of the nose will swell up, which prevents mucus from draining properly — and that can then lead to sinusitis, says Goldsobel. People with allergies and asthma may be more vulnerable to sinusitis, though it's not proven, Baroody says.

If you are at higher risk for sinus infections, you can take steps to prevent them.

Don't let allergy symptoms spiral out of control. And, Baroody says, be on the lookout "for the symptoms of sinus infections, and treat them promptly."

Allergic rhinitis is inflammation of the inside of the nose caused by an allergen, such as pollen, dust, mould or flakes of skin from certain animals.

It’s a extremely common condition, estimated to affect around 1 in every 5 people in the UK.


What causes allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is caused by the immune system reacting to an allergen as if it were harmful.

This results in cells releasing a number of chemicals that cause the inside layer of your nose (the mucous membrane) to become swollen and too much mucus to be produced.

Common allergens that cause allergic rhinitis include pollen (this type of allergic rhinitis is known as hay fever), as well as mould spores, home dust mites, and flakes of skin or droplets of urine or saliva from certain animals.

Find out more about the causes of allergic rhinitis


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What are the symptoms of a cold vs allergies