The common cold and hay fever may seem to have several similarities. However, they are entirely different. Hay fever is caused by the body’s overproduction of histamines when in contact with various airborne allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander. A cold, on the other hand, is caused by a virus. So, are you experiencing hay fever or a cold? Here’s how to tell the difference.

Symptoms

The symptoms shared between a cold and hay fever are similar in many ways on the surface. However, a deeper look into them would reveal several differences. If you have a cold, you may experience feverishness, fatigue, general body aches, and a constant cough. Hay fever does cause coughing, but this is dry and not chesty like a cold. However, its most distinct difference in symptoms is that hay fever is most likely to cause watery and itchy eyes, earaches, or an itchy throat. The colour of your nasal discharge is also a great way to indicate whether you are experiencing hay fever or a cold. If you have a cold, your mucus would be yellowish or greenish. With hay fever, nasal discharge is usually clear.

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Duration of symptoms

The duration of the symptoms also serves as a great indicator of whether you are experiencing hay fever or the common cold. With hay fever, the symptoms may last for long as the essential medications have been taken or preventive measures against the elements that trigger the allergic reaction have been taken. This means that you may experience hay fever for a few days, months or even a year. Usually, the symptoms of a cold may last for two weeks. If it does, you may have to consult your doctor as this may signify an allergic reaction or another health problem.

Diagnosis

Since a virus causes a cold, it is contagious. This means you can determine your symptoms are that of a cold if you have been in contact with someone who had it. You can take over-the-counter medication for relief without consulting a doctor. However, if the symptoms do not subside after 14 days, you may need to consult your doctor. Using an X-ray, they would assess the situation to determine if your cold may have led to more severe conditions such as pneumonia, strep throat, a chest infection, or even an allergic reaction. If you are experiencing hayfever, visit an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist or an allergist to undergo a series of tests to have the right medication prescribed.

Treatment options

Cough syrups, pain relievers such as paracetamol, and decongestant sprays are few treatment options for a cold. However, lots of rest and frequent consumption of water is also advisable. To treat hay fever, antihistamines such as Fexofenadine Tablets effectively reduce the reactions caused by the body’s overproduction of histamines. Nasal corticosteroids and decongestants effectively relieve inflammation in the nasal cavity and relieve a congested nose. However, it is safer to consider preventive measures to keep your hay fever in check.

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