Both a cold and an allergy involve an immune response. They also have many symptoms in common such as, congestion, runny nose, coughing.

A cold usually lasts from 3-14 days, while an allergy can be weeks and sometimes months depending on the allergen. The common cold can have serious complications such as pneumonia, sinus infections, asthma attacks, bronchitis, and ear infections.

Is It a Cold or an Allergy? How Do You Know the Difference?

Here we break down the causes and differences of the common cold vs. allergies.

Causes of a cold

Viruses including rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, the respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV) and the parainfluenza viruses. Most common is the rhinovirus.

Symptoms of a cold

Coughing, sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat, low-grade fever, aches, and pains. Sometimes weakness and fatigue are associated with a cold.

Causes of an allergy

An allergen such as pollen, ragweed, pet dander, mold, and grass.

Symptoms of allergy

Itchy eyes, sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose. Sometimes there is a cough, fatigue, fatigue, and sore throat.

Differences of the Cold vs. Allergies

In an allergy the mucus is clear and watery while in a cold it is thicker and has a greenish/yellowish tint, allergies can cause a sneezing fit (many consecutive sneezes), there is never a fever with allergies but there can be a slight fever with a cold

Questions about the common cold or allergies? Ask Dr. Perillo!