Cold, Flu, or Allergy?

Have there been days when you feel so congested that you can’t breathe and seem to cough all day? You might have a fever associated with the sneezing and coughing or not. You are likely suffering from the flu, allergies or a cold, but how do you know which one? The kind of condition will determine what kind of medication you should take.

All three of the conditions will affect your respiratory system in one way or another, but when you know what you have, you won’t take the medications you don’t need.

A different strain of viruses causes the cold and flu. The flu is often more severe. You will notice a sore throat, congestion and a stuffy nose with both illnesses, but a fever is often present with the flu. You will also likely notice muscle aches and fatigue with the flu. A cold or the flu will usually only last about two weeks.

If you suspect that you have allergies, then the symptoms will be different. There is no virus that causes allergies. Instead, it is the environment that you are in that can trigger allergies. Many people experience seasonal allergies, especially in the spring when pollen levels increase. Seasonal allergies can last for about six to eight weeks, or until the pollen from the trees and other plants has subsided. Pet dander is another common allergen. You will usually experience watery eyes that are itchy and red, sneezing and pressure in the sinuses.

Pain relievers and plenty of rest can help in treating the flu and a cold. You also want to stay as hydrated as possible. An antihistamine can be taken to treat allergies. Avoid taking two medications that have the same ingredient as you might get too much of the ingredient in your body.

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