Cold or Allergies?

Colds and allergies have many of the same symptoms, but there are important differences between these two conditions.

Colds are caused by a viral infection. As your immune system tries to kill the virus, you experience the typical symptoms of sneezing, congestion, itching or runny nose ...

Once your body has gotten rid of the virus, your immune system cools down and your symptoms gradually go away. In the case of allergy, your immune system overreacts and sees a piece of dust or a grain of pollen as an invading germ. In the process of trying to kill this "invader", your immune system revs up and you experience your typical symptoms often much like those associated with a cold

However, unlike a cold, which typically goes away within a week or two, allergy symptoms can last for days, weeks, months or even all year long. Whenever you breathe in whatever you're allergic to (pollen, dust, mold, cat hair, etc.), your immune system keeps on going, and your allergy symptoms can drag on and on.

Fortunately, however, unlike colds for which there is no great treatment, most people who suffer with allergy can be helped to feel remarkably better so they can live a normal life without letting their allergies make them sick.