Achoo, achoo, achoo! That is me right now with all of these fall allergies. But with us headed into colder weather, it can be hard to figure out if it’s just a cold – which will clear up within a week – or fall allergies, which can last weeks or even months!
It’s hard to believe but there are 35 million Americans that suffer from allergies and don’t even know about it. I know I have been guilty of this and several of my friends too! It’s hard to tell the difference between a cold and fall allergies because the symptoms are SO similar. Luckily, CVS MinuteClinic has some tips to help you tell the difference between the two so you can get the relief you need!
- The main difference between a cold and allergies is that a cold is caused by a viral infection while allergy symptoms are caused by your body’s own immune system’s attempt to fight off an allergen.
- If your symptoms develop fast, it’s likely allergies. Allergy symptoms flare up as soon as you’ve come into contact with an allergen, whereas cold symptoms can take several days to develop.
If you have a cough, it’s probably a cold. Most people with a cold will have a cough, but not everyone with allergies will have this symptom.
Itchy eyes are a common symptom of allergies but RARELY occur with the common cold
The color of your mucus may indicate whether or not you have cold or the flu or if its just allergies. Green/yellow mucus can be a sign of a cold or flu. Mucus from allergies should be a clear liquid.
- One of the worst things about a cold is the fever that goes with it. If you have a fever, it’s not allergies – you’ve got a cold and if it lasts three to four days, it’s a good sign of the flu.
- If you’re aching all over, it’s probably a good sign of the flu, not allergies. Aches and pains are not symptoms of allergies or even most colds.
Isn’t it good to know the difference? Last year, I thought I had a really loooooong cold until I decided to treat myself with allergy medicine and guess what? It worked! So if you’re wanting to see if that cold that is sticking around is REALLY fall allergies, check out these tips below on how to treat fall allergies.
How can I protect my family and myself?
Symptoms can usually be controlled with treatment. Nasal saline, decongestants and over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines may help relieve symptoms as well. If you are struggling to feel well, see a healthcare provider. At MinuteClinic, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants can recommend the right course of over-the counter medications and write prescriptions when medically appropriate. They can review your medical history, perform a physical exam, analyze your symptoms and decide on a treatment plan.
Limit allergen exposure.
Stay indoors, especially on dry, windy days when pollen counts are high and ragweed is in the air. Run the air condition vs. opening the windows and letting allergens in the house A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter attachment can help remove pollen from the air and help you breathe easier. Avoid raking leaves, especially when they are wet and the likeliness of mold is high. Wear a face mask if you need to do yard work and take off your clothes and shoes when you come into the house.
Rinse your sinuses.
Nasal irrigation – rinsing your sinuses to remove mucus and allergens from your nose – is a way to help ease congestion.
Try over-the-counter allergy medications.
Many antihistamines – which can come in liquid, pill and eye drop form – are available without a prescription. They work to block histamine and relieve itchy noses and throats, sneezing, and watery eyes.
MinuteClinic is the walk-in medical clinic inside select CVS Pharmacy and Target stores across the U.S. There are approximately 1,100 clinics in 33 states and the District of Columbia. MinuteClinic is open 7 days a week, including weekday evening hours. Walk-in, no appointment is necessary. Most health care insurance is accepted. Find a MinuteClinic near you!
I’m so thankful that when it comes to fall allergies, I can pick up some treatment at CVS or if it gets really bad, I can visit a MinuteClinic. Make sure to stop in yourself and make it a healthy fall for all – save up to $40 on brands you can trust at MinuteClinic when you visit your nearest clinic and pick up our J&J coupon book!
Have you ever wondered if it’s a cold or fall allergies?
Disclosure: I received compensation for this post but all thoughts and opinions are my own.