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Allergies vs. colds: 3 key ways to tell the difference

Woman blowing nose, cold, allergies

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports nasal allergies affect about 50 million people throughout the country. Adults have an average of 2 to 3 colds per year and children have even more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

With similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between allergies and a cold, particularly during the spring.

Here are three key differences from Manhattan’s primary care physician Lan Ly, MD:

  1. A common cold is more likely to include a fever, muscle aches, headaches and a sore throat.
  2. Allergies are more likely to cause itchy, watery eyes combined with a runny nose and congestion.
  3. Colds tend to last for a few days up to a couple of weeks while seasonal allergies are more likely to last longer -- as long as you are in contact with the allergy triggers.

Because the symptoms between colds and allergies are so similar, you may need to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician to determine which condition you have.

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About Michelle Kennedy

Michelle Kennedy is the Senior Marketing Specialist for Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan, Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg and Wamego Health Center. She is a proud wife and mom and loves cooking, camping and spending time outdoors, her dogs and reading.