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Is it a Common Cold or Allergies?

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Published on Oct 9, 2014

That runny nose, sneezing and congestion could be due to allergies or a common cold, sometimes it can be difficult to tell the two apart. Both colds and allergies can share many of the same symptoms, but they have different causes and are treated differently.

A cold is caused by a virus, and there are hundreds of different viruses that can cause a person to become sick. The germs that cause a cold are contagious and can infect other people when an infected person sneezes and coughs. Colds are most common during the winter months, but they can occur at any time. The onset of a cold’s symptoms usually take several days to appear and then can last from a few days to a few weeks in some circumstances. Symptoms of a cold may include a cough, fatigue, body aches, sore throat, runny nose and sometimes a fever and watery eyes.

Allergies are caused by exposure to a wide range of allergens that may be encountered outdoors from such things as pollen or mold, or indoors from common allergens that include mold, pollen, dust mites, animal dander and allergens from latex, rodents and insects. When a person has allergies they can have symptoms as long as they are exposed to the allergen. This means they may could have symptoms that last from days to months and this can occur seasonally or even all year long. Symptoms may occur immediately after exposure to the allergen or they can be delayed. Common symptoms include a runny nose and itchy or watery eyes. Less frequently there may be a cough, fatigue or a sore throat due to a runny nose. Body aches and fever are not generally considered allergy symptoms.

To prevent catching a cold, people need to prevent the virus from getting into their body. Frequent hand washing and keeping distance from those with active colds can help. For those who suffer from allergies, avoid being exposed to allergens, whether they are found outdoors or in people’s homes, schools or where they work.

These are just a few things to know about some common differences between colds and allergies. To learn more about this or other indoor air quality, environmental, health and safety issues, please visits the websites shown in the video.

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