How to Differentiate Common Cold from Allergic Rhinitis

A lot of people mistake allergic reactions for the common cold. Because of this, the medicine and drugs that they take to treat the common cold appear to be ineffective. The truth is the medications do work; it’s just not for the right illness.

Differentiate Common Cold from Allergic Rhinitis

The symptoms of a common cold can easily be confused with real allergic reactions. Once a person starts sneezing, feeling itchy or having a runny nose, people naturally assume that it’s the common cold. However, we need to be more careful since these symptoms could very well be allergic rhinitis.

Allergic rhinitis can be triggered by the presence of pollens such as ragweed. Once it is inhaled, the body will react by having a runny nose, stuffy nose, sneezing, or itchy eyes. But why?

What are Allergies?

An allergy is our body’s defense against things that our body label as harmful. Because of that, our immune system releases antibodies and histamines to fight off allergens. In most cases, the allergen is not harmful. But as a result of the histamines, a person can experience itching, sneezing, runny nose, and other cold-like symptoms.

The downside is that both common cold and allergic reaction have a lot in common. One example of a shared symptom is having a runny nose. Before taking any medication, it would be best to identify whether or not your stuffy nose is due to allergic rhinitis or the common cold.

How to Tell Them Apart

To identify whether or not you have an allergic reaction or a cold, take note of your eyes. If you have watery or itchy eyes, you likely have hay fever as these symptoms are not common with a cold. Another indicator that your symptoms may be due to allergies is the length of time that you suffer from them. While a cold typically lasts a week or less, allergies can last for several weeks at a time.