Posted on Jan 29, 2019 9:30am PST

Nothing seems to get us down as fast as that achy, sniffling, sneezing feeling that seems to present itself at least a few times each year. Your body feels achy, you’re coughing constantly, and you can’t go anywhere without a tissue box in tow.

It’s hard to get over being sick if you can’t differentiate whether it’s a cold, seasonal allergies or perhaps the beginning of the flu. Yet each illness actually has its own key symptoms that set them apart. Keep reading to find out how to know if you have a cold, the flu, or allergies.

Colds

If you are spending all day feeling under the weather; sneezing, sniffling and dealing with a sore throat, you probably have a cold. Symptoms for colds include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Occasionally mild fever

Cold symptoms tend to run their course in about ten days to two weeks. Also, colds rarely present with fevers over 101 degrees.

The Flu

The flu may initially present itself as an intense cold, which is why so many people confuse the two. However, the intensity of the flu, combined with the high fever it tends to cause, separates it from the common cold. Symptoms that indicate the seasonal flu include:

  • High fever (100 to 102 degrees and upward)
  • Body aches and pains
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Vomiting and diarrhea in some cases

The flu tends to run its course over a two week period.

Allergies

Since allergies affect your upper respiratory tract, many of the symptoms for allergies mimic cold and flu symptoms.

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Watery and/or itchy eyes
  • Symptoms are situational

Allergy symptoms will linger a lot longer than the cold or flu as our bodies are responding to allergens in our environment. Also if these symptoms tend to present routinely every spring and fall, you are probably suffering from seasonal allergies.

It’s easy to differentiate between the common cold, the flu and allergies once you know all of the symptoms to look for. If you need assistance as an allergy sufferer, contact the Center for Allergy and Asthma for help today.