Could Your Lingering Cold Actually Be Seasonal Allergies?

Posted on: 4 January 2021


Do you have a cold that seems to be dragging on and on? It might be a cold as you've assumed — but it might not be. People often mistake seasonal allergies for the common cold; you would not be the first! So how can you tell the difference? Work your way through the questions below.

Have you had any aches and pains?

Think back to when your assumed cold began. Did you ever feel achy or sore? If so, you probably do still have a cold. Not all colds cause aches and joint soreness, but allergies almost never cause these symptoms. Even if the soreness and aches have gone away now, the fact that they were present early on suggests a cold.

Have your eyes been itchy, red, or irritated?

Colds rarely, if ever, affect the eyes at all. However, this is a very common sign of allergies since your eyes react directly when pollen (or other allergens) get inside of them. If your eyes have been affected, you probably have allergies. If not, this is more evidence for a cold.

Has your throat been sore?

Not all colds cause throat soreness, but many do. This is often an early cold symptom that then goes away as the cold progresses. Allergies, on the other hand, don't typically cause a sore throat. If your throat has never been sore throughout this whole ordeal, that's more evidence on the side of allergies.

Do your symptoms seem to come and go?

Sometimes cold symptoms are a bit worse at night than during the day, but they don't go away completely and then come back. Allergy symptoms do. You might feel fine for a few hours or even for a day, but then your symptoms come back. If you pay closer attention, you may realize that the symptoms worsen after you have been outside and go away after you have spent a lot more time indoors.

Has a cough ever been a prominent symptom?

Even if you don't have a cough anymore, did you? This is evidence that points towards a cold. Allergies rarely cause coughs, so if you have not had a cough during this ordeal, there's a good chance allergies are to blame.

If you work your way through these questions, you should have a better idea of whether you have a long-lingering cold or seasonal allergies. If you do think allergies may be to blame, make an appointment with an allergist. There are plenty of treatments that can bring you relief.