Difference between Colds vs. Allergic Rhinitis

You’re coughing, sneezing, your nose is stuffy, you’re suffering from nasal congestion, and there’s a lot more. What would you do in this situation? Right! You rely on Dr. Internet, self-medicate, sleep, and pray that everything will be well tomorrow. That’s a hit-or-miss situation.

It’s probable that you have seasonal allergies if you frequently experience “colds” that come on unexpectedly and at the same time every year. Despite the fact that colds and seasonal allergies overlap similar symptoms, they are two very different diseases.

What is a cold?

There are more than 200 viruses that can cause a cold. However, Rhinoviruses is the most common causative agent. These viruses spread from person to person through air droplets and close personal contact.

Most people recover in about 7 to 10 days. But some symptoms such as runny or stuffy nose and cough can last up to 10 to 14 days. Any more than that, your cold virus may have sparked or caused a more serious infection — usually a bacterial infection.

How to prevent colds?

Handwashing should be done frequently and correctly. Disinfect communal areas or equipment, particularly if someone in your living or working environment has a cold. Avoid sharing straws, drinking glasses, spoons, forks, or anything else that could spread the cold virus. When sneezing, use disposable wipes or tissues and discard them right away. Eat well, and exercise regularly.

What is Allergic Rhinitis?

It’s a fantastic thing that we all have immune systems. It defends us against hazardous organisms such as bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that could make us sick. In other cases, however, our immune system reacts negatively to allergens, which are external or internal stimuli. When this happens, our bodies create histamines, which are the substances that trigger allergy symptoms.

Many of the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and colds are similar, which is why people are frequently unsure whether they have colds or allergic rhinitis. Here are a few things that are in common.

• Sneezing

• Coughing

• Sore throat

• Runny nose

• Nasal congestion

• Watery eyes

How can allergic rhinitis be avoided?

Allergic rhinitis is triggered by inhaling known allergens. The most common airborne allergens are pollens, mold spores, dust mites, animal dander (fur, skin, saliva and urine of pets) and dust. Rhinitis can also be triggered by air pollution, aerosol sprays, strong scents, cold temperatures, humidity and smoke.

Avoidance of your known triggers would help in controlling the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

The following can be done:

• Keep windows closed specially during high-pollen seasons

• Hand washing after petting animals

• Use dust and mite proof bedding and mattress covers

• Showering before going to bed to wash of allergens from the hair and skin

How can you know if you have allergic rhinitis or a cold?

Because colds and allergic rhinitis have many of the same symptoms, it’s vital to get to know the ones that are specific to each ailment. Colds are more likely to cause aches and pains, as well as a fever and a sore throat. Allergies are prone to cause rashes on the skin, itchy eyes, and wheezing. On the other hand, allergic rhinitis presents with frequent sneezing, itchy eyes, swelling of the upper eyelids and wheezing.

You could also consider the season. Although colds can occur during the summer, they are more common during the rainy season, when viruses thrive and reproduce. The duration of symptoms is another way to distinguish colds from allergies. Colds normally last a few days to a week, but allergies would persist for weeks or months until the allergen is removed, or you receive specialist treatment.

If you’re having a hard time distinguishing between having a cold or an allergy, you may consider visiting your doctor for a check-up. To limit your risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus, you may also consult with specialist doctors with Medgate and have your consultation right at the comfort of your own home.