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Allergies vs. Cold

Do I have an allergy or cold?

Allergies and the common cold have fairly similar symptoms, which can make it difficult to figure out which condition you might be dealing with. There are, however, distinct differences to look out for that can help you determine your best options for relief.

Compare your symptoms to the most common ones below to see which might be the culprit.

Common cold symptoms:

  • Runny nose and post-nasal drip
  • Red and/or watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Fatigue
  • General congestion or sinus pressure
  • Fever

Common allergy symptoms:*

  • Runny nose and post-nasal drip
  • Itchy, red and/or watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • General congestion or sinus pressure
  • Hives, rash or other types of skin irritation

How to tell the difference between a cold and allergies

If you’re still not sure which condition is bothering you after reviewing their respective symptoms, ask yourself these questions to help get the answers you need:

How quickly did your symptoms develop?

While allergies tend to flare up suddenly in response to your environment, cold symptoms can take a bit longer to fully develop.

How long have you been experiencing symptoms?

Both colds and allergies can occur in a cyclical nature, meaning you experience them at similar times each year. But the duration of time that you experience symptoms is a key indicator of whether you have a cold or allergies. Colds are caused by viruses and symptoms last on average for about three to ten days. Allergies, on the other hand, are an immune system response that occurs because of the presence of indoor and/or outdoor allergens, such as pollen, dust, mold or dander. These symptoms can generally last throughout a season, or even year-round for some people.

Do you have muscle aches?

That’s a symptom you generally will experience with a cold, not allergies.

Do you have a fever?

A fever is often a tell-tale sign of a cold or flu or other more serious conditions. Allergies generally do not cause a fever.

Are your eyes itchy?

While eyes can be red and watery with both a cold and allergies, any itchiness in your eyes is a good indicator of allergies.

What color is your mucus?

Mucus that remains clear and watery while you have symptoms often points to allergies. Mucus that becomes thick and discolored may point to a cold.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above for a prolonged period of time, make an appointment with your primary care doctor or allergist to ensure the right diagnosis.

Relieving your symptoms

Here’s the good news: finding relief from your allergy symptoms is easy with Allegra.* Before taking Allegra, be sure to read all directions and warnings on the product label, which you can also find at the product links below.

12 Hour Allegra and 24 Hour Allegra tablets contain an antihistamine that tackles your indoor and outdoor allergy symptoms. And for kids, you can give them 12 hour Children’s Allegra liquid or orally dissolving tablets for lasting relief that lets them enjoy all of life’s adventures.

Experiencing cold-like symptoms with your allergies? 12 Hour Allegra-D and 24 Hour Allegra-D tablets contain an antihistamine plus nasal decongestant to help you breathe freely without feeling drowsy due to your medicine. It relieves nasal congestion, sinus pressure and congestion and swelling of the nasal passages.

Allegra can help you get back to feeling like yourself again. It’s the #1 Allergist recommended brand for non-drowsy relief, with an antihistamine that gives you 24 hours of the fastest§ non-drowsy relief from indoor and outdoor allergy symptoms. So you can live your life, not your allergies.

*Allegra is not indicated to relieve post-nasal drip, red eyes, coughing, head congestion, hives, rash, or any other types of skin irritation. Allegra is indicated to relieve sneezing, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes or an itchy nose and throat. Allegra-D is indicated to relieve sneezing, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, itchy nose and throat, nasal congestion, sinus congestion and pressure, and swelling of nasal passages.
Children’s Allegra lasts a full 12 hours.
Allegra is the #1 allergist recommended non-drowsy brand of OTC oral antihistamines.
§Starts working in one hour. Applies to first dose only. Among single-ingredient OTC branded oral antihistamines.

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A non-drowsy, fast-acting antihistamine to relieve your everyday allergy symptoms.

Starts working in one hour.

Leave your allergy symptoms in the dust.

Save up to $7 on Allegra Buy Allegra

Leave your allergy symptoms in the dust.

Save up to $7 on Allegra Buy Allegra