What Is The Differences Between Cold And Allergies?

Image : © Mqdee

At times, you may find trivial health complications more annoying and inconvenient than more serious ailments. Think of common cold or allergies for instance. They do not lead to life threatening situations, but when they occur, they can surely make your life miserable!

But, are cold and an allergy the same thing? Let’s find out!

What Is A Cold?

You can catch a cold owing to a number of reasons. You may get a blocked nose after getting drenched in rain. Seasonal changes bring myriads of germs and bacteria in the atmosphere and their contamination can lead to swelling of nose and nasal tract as well. The immune system springs into action and common cold is the response of your body to these germs. The germs that lead to the onset of cold are infectious. The instances of people catching cold from one another are quite common.

What Is An Allergy?

In general, an overactive immune system leads to the onset of various allergies in the human body. At times, your body may react to seemingly harmless substances like pollen and dust particles. Allergy can also be induced by consumption of certain types of foods like prawns and crabs in some people. In such conditions, the human body generates chemicals like histamine as an immune system response. This in turn makes nasal passage swell up and you end up sneezing and coughing. Allergies are mostly not infectious in nature.

Differences Between Allergies And Cold:

Sometimes, people and medical professionals find it tough to distinguish between a cold and an allergy. As a matter of fact, both have some common symptoms like sneezing, runny nose and coughing. However, there are some key differences between cold and allergies as well.

  • Time of Year- Cold affects people, mostly in winter, but it can also affect in the monsoon months. Allergies however, can happen at any time.
  • Duration- Cold usually lasts for a few days or a week in most instances. Allergies, however, can persist longer. Allergies can manifest faster than cold in your body.

Treatment Options For Cold And Allergy:

In most cases, cold will subside even if you do not take any medication and that is what most people do. However, people with a weak immune system or those who cannot put up with a runny nose, opt for medications. Taking rest and drinking warm soup can help. Some people also opt for sipping warm tea with herbs like ginger.

Allergy treatments can vary depending on the allergen. Some victims are given antihistamines to provide relief.

Using Decongestants:

Application of decongestants helps in relieving symptoms of cough and allergies in most cases. These medications shrink the nose’s swollen mucous membranes, facilitating air circulation. It also thwarts postnasal drip.
Decongestants can be administered orally, but you can also find drop and spray versions in the market. However, oral decongestants may lead to side effects. On the contrary, drops and sprays offer faster and interim relief from runny noses.

Dealing With Cough Effectively:

It is actually better to let the cough wear out instead of using medications to suppress the symptoms. Opt for nasal drops or cough syrups etc., only when the nasal passage gets blocked and regular respiration becomes tedious.

Dry cough does not cause phlegm production. However, when you have a cough, it generates mucus and phlegm. Instead of using OTC cough syrups, you can try natural remedies like fruit juices and soups with herbs. They keep your throat moist and soothe it to an extent.

Whether it is a cold or an allergy, if it does not abate in a week’s time, it is best to consult a doctor who will put you on antihistamines that will relieve your symptoms in a jiffy. Remember not to self medicate at any cost!

Eating a balance diet too can help keep both colds and allergies at bay.

Colds and allergies may appear similar but are very different. So, the next time you find yourself sneezing, make sure it is a mere cold and not an allergy!

Do you suffer from any kind of allergy? What are the symptoms? Share with us in the comments section below.

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