Is It a Cold or Allergies? Tips For Navigating September Sniffles

September 11, 2023

As the leaves begin to change and the air turns crisper, the coming season brings unique challenges for our health. One of the most common dilemmas this time of year is figuring out whether you're dealing with a pesky cold or the notorious seasonal allergies. The symptoms can overlap, making it tricky to pinpoint the culprit. But fear not; we're here to help you distinguish between the two and offer guidance on seeking diagnosis and treatment options.

Signs That You Have a Cold

If you have the following symptoms, then you might have a cold.

  • Gradual Onset: Colds tend to creep up on you. You might wake up feeling perfectly fine and progressively develop symptoms over a few days. So, if you suddenly find yourself sneezing and sniffling, it could be a sign of a cold.
  • Fever and Chills: Colds often come with a mild fever or chills. If your body temperature runs higher than usual, it's likely a cold.
  • Sore Throat: That scratchy, painful sensation in your throat is a classic cold symptom. A viral infection causes it and usually lasts a few days.
  • Mucus: The type of mucus you produce can be telling. If it starts clear and gradually turns thicker, green, or yellow, you're likely dealing with a cold.

Signs That You Have Seasonal Allergies

 Do you think you have seasonal allergies? Then, you will have the following symptoms.

  • Sudden Onset: Unlike colds, allergies often hit you suddenly when exposed to allergens like pollen or dust. If your symptoms appear out of nowhere, allergies are likely the culprit.
  • Itchy Eyes and Nose: One of the signs of allergies is itching. If your eyes, nose, or throat itch persistently, it's a strong indicator of allergies.
  • Sneezing Fits: Allergies are notorious for causing uncontrollable sneezing fits. If you sneeze multiple times in a row, it's probably allergies.
  • Consistent Symptoms: Allergy symptoms stick around as long as you're exposed to the allergen. If your symptoms have lingered for weeks or even months, allergies are a likely culprit.

Seeking Diagnosis & Treatment Options

If you're unsure whether you have a cold or allergies, seeking a proper diagnosis is essential, especially if your symptoms are severe or worsening. Urgent care centers are a great option for quick evaluation and treatment.

  • Professional Assessment: Urgent care physicians are trained to diagnose various medical conditions, including colds and allergies. They can perform tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
  • Prescription Medications: If allergies are the culprit, urgent care can prescribe antihistamines, decongestants, or other medications to alleviate your symptoms. For colds, they can recommend over-the-counter remedies and monitor your condition.
  • Preventive Advice: Urgent care doctors can also guide you in managing allergies or preventing colds in the future. They may suggest lifestyle changes or allergy testing for a more precise diagnosis.

Get Same-Day General Illness Treatment at AFC Urgent Care Back Bay

Navigating the sniffles can be challenging, but understanding the key differences between colds and allergies is the first step toward effective treatment. If you're in doubt, don't hesitate to visit AFC Urgent Care Back Bay for professional evaluation and guidance. Our center is open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm. We are dedicated to providing efficient, affordable, and convenient care for all patients in the Back Bay, MA area and surrounding communities. Just walk-in!

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