Is It a Cold or Just Fall Allergies?

Is It a Cold or Just Fall Allergies?

From the moment your child’s eyes start to water, their nose starts to drip and their throat starts to scratch, chances are you may begin worrying that they’re getting a cold. In fact, during this time of year, which is aptly dubbed “cold and flu season” many people assume they are coming down with a cold at the sign of the very first sneeze.

However, what many people don’t realize is that these reactions during this time of year may actually not be a cold at all—it could be a sign of fall allergies. Allergies just don’t happen in the spring. There are fall and winter allergies as well and they cause many people to misdiagnose their symptoms and assume they are only dealing with a cold. Here’s how to tell if you are actually dealing with a cold or if you are just suffering from seasonal fall allergies.

Where Do Fall Allergies Come From?

Just because the fall isn’t known for allergy-inducing pollen, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t multiple sources of allergens that are present throughout the fall. Perhaps the biggest offender in the autumn season is ragweed. It is found all over the United States and sends pollen spores out starting in mid-August and continues to do so until the first frost of the year. Ragweed can literally grow anywhere, even in the cracks of a city sidewalk, so no one is immune.

During the fall, mold spores are also quite common and many people can exhibit cold-like symptoms as a reaction to this mold. These spores can grow on damp leaves, grass or compost and they will last all through the fall—even when it begins to frost.

As we start to spend more time indoors during the fall, we may also be susceptible to indoor allergies such as mold and dust mites. This is why it is so important to clean out your furnace filters before blasting dust from an old filter all over your home.

How Can I Tell if I Have a Cold or Fall Allergies?

Now that you have a better understanding of what can cause fall allergies, here is how you can determine whether you are coming down with the cold virus or having an allergic reaction to items in your environment.

Length of Sickness

Colds usually last between 3 days and two weeks. Allergies can last days to months. As long as you are in contact with the trigger, and even after the trigger has been removed, you will likely experience allergy symptoms. If you have symptoms for more than 14 days, you may be dealing with allergies.

Time of Illness

Colds typically happen in the winter, but they are common at any time. Allergies can happen any time of year but are most common during the changes of the season.

When Symptoms Start

When you are dealing with a cold, symptoms will typically start appearing a few days after the infection. When you have allergies, your symptoms will start immediately after you come in contact with your allergy trigger.

Symptoms of a Cold vs. Symptoms of Allergies

The final way to determine whether you are dealing with fall allergies or a cold is to look at the actual symptoms you are experiencing. While there are some similarities between a cold and allergies, there are a few key ways to tell which you are dealing with.

Colds- Symptoms include frequent coughing, sore throat, and runny or stuffy nose. Sometimes, you may experience aches and fatigue with a cold. Rarely will you have itchy or watery eyes.

Fall Allergies- The most common symptoms of allergies are runny or stuffy nose and itchy or watery eyes. Sometimes people with allergies will get a sore throat, fatigue or a cough as well.

Keep these differences in mind this season so you know what it is you are dealing with and so you can quickly get the help you need to get on the road to recovery.

If you have additional questions about your cold or allergy symptoms, you can schedule an appointment with our office by calling 817-617-8600 or scheduling online at https://continuumtx.com/contact.