Colds are caused by viruses. There are many different viruses that can get in your body and your immune system attacks it and tries to knock it out. The symptoms you experience are caused from the attack of your immune system. The congestion, coughing, runny nose and discomfort are symptoms of your cold. Colds are spread easily by germs. Coughing, sneezing and touching door knobs spread the germs and coming in contact with those germs allows the virus to spread to you. A cold will last up to two weeks.
Allergies are caused by your immune system going into overdrive. When you come in contact with something you are allergic to that is harmless, like dust or pollen or animal fur, your body thinks it is being attacked by virus and it releases histamine to fight it as if it were a cold. You get the coughing, sneezing, itching and watering eyes. Allergies are not contagious as they are not caused by germs
As you can see, it is hard to tell the difference when you are catching a cold and when you are having an allergy attack. Here is a basic fact chart to help you tell the difference.
Cold: Getting sick a few days after exposure to a sick person.
Allergy: Getting sick almost immediately after exposure to nature or animals.
Cold (no body aches with an allergy): Body Aches.
Cold – Sometimes, Allergy – Never: Fever.
Allergy: Itchy and watery eyes.
Some symptoms can be for cold and allergy. Runny nose, coughing, feeling tired and sore throat are common issue with both colds and allergies.
A cold last a week to 14 days. Allergies last as long as you are exposing yourself to allergens. If the symptoms of a cold have lasted more than 14 days, there is something else going on.
Though allergy medication can sometimes help a cold’s discomfort, you should not take cold medication for allergies. The medication for colds is overkill and you simply do not need the additional drugs you are putting in your body.
There is no cure for the cold or for allergies. There are over the counter medications to relieve the symptoms. If allergies are a more than occasional problem, you should seek medical attention.
With the onset of cold / allergy symptoms begin drinking plenty of water and getting rest. Try to eat well to keep your strength up. Use an over the counter medication to relieve symptoms. Wash your hands often with anti-bacterial soap. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Wipe office and home surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes. Until you are sure of what you have, assume it is a cold. Avoid other people as much as possible and especially stay away from babies and senior citizens. Avoid crowded places.