We're well into spring and just a couple of weeks away from the official start of summer. We’re also well into allergy season and if think you’re struggling with a cold that you just can't shake, perhaps you are suffering from allergies. Trouble is allergy symptoms can be very similar to symptoms of the common cold.
Dr. Melissa Voutsalath is with UCHealth’s Monument Primary Care and says “Often viral illness or the common cold can overlap symptoms with allergies, so it's not easy to decide which you have. You often need to see a doctor to have an evaluation. You will have coughing, fatigue, sore throat, running nose, congestion, you can have any of those with both a common cold and allergies. Symptoms that would be more specific to allergies can be sneezing, or itchy watery eyes, and usually if you have a fever or body aches that would be more from a viral illness."
Another clue between a cold and allergies can be how long your symptoms last says Dr. Voutsalath. “Viral or common colds usually last up to 2 week, but if you notice symptoms in a seasonal pattern, or they are lasting a month or two, then they may be allergy related."
If in the beginning stages of not feeling well you think you have a cold, then a trip to the drug store can help you find some relief, "Conservative measures with over the counter medication can include Tylenol or Ibuprofen for body aches or fever, saline rinses to help with congestion or runny nose, and over the counter steroid nasal spray. Push fluids and then if your symptoms don't improve follow up with your doctor. If you think you’re having allergies you can try over the counter antihistamines, to see if those help you symptoms, saline rinses, and steroid nasal sprays also can help with allergy symptoms.” adds Dr. Voutsalath.
If over the counter allergy medications don't bring you relief and your symptoms don't go away, then a referral to an allergist may be in order to learn what your specific allergy triggers are and help you get your allergies under control