It’s easy to confuse the symptoms of hay fever (a form of allergy) and those of the common cold, as they share many similarities.
|Nasal discharge||Very liquid (transparent), may sometimes thicken||Thick (white, yellowish, or greenish)|
|Nasal congestion||Both nostrils||One or both nostrils|
|Itchiness||In the nose or throat||No itchiness|
|Red, watery, or itchy eyes||Often||No eye symptoms|
|Cough||Sometimes, especially if the person is asthmatic||Often|
The symptoms of the common cold are the result of your body’s attempts to fight off a virus. Colds can be caused by over 200 different viruses.
With hay fever, the symptoms are the result of an overreaction by the body to miniscule substances (called “allergens”) found in the air we breathe, e.g., ragweed pollen.
Seasonal: When the allergen that causes allergic rhinitis is only present at a specific time of the year, the symptoms will appear at the same time every year. For example, in the spring for people who are allergic to tree pollen or in the fall for those with a ragweed allergy.
Perennial: When the allergen is present year-round in the environment, symptoms can occur all year long. Dust mites are one example of an allergen that can cause allergic rhinitis throughout the year.
If you’re not sure what’s causing your symptoms, talk to your pharmacist. They can help determine whether you’re suffering from allergic rhinitis or a common cold, and may refer you to a doctor, if necessary. They may also suggest certain medications or other measures to relieve your symptoms.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.