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How do you know if it is a flu, a cold or an allergy?

Sometimes you feel lousy, you cough and your throat is quite scratchy. It is a time of the year when sniffles have come full force. The problem, however, is that you can’t really tell if it is a flu, a cold or an allergy.

That makes it very hard to treat the symptoms effectively – without an understanding of what’s really affecting you. This is because both the three conditions often present the same symptoms – but are different altogether.

We are all faced with this scenario from time to time. There’s no way you can get the right medication if you don’t understand what you are suffering from. Taking medicine for a medical condition you aren’t sure of might worsen things. This is because there are some medications that accelerate certain symptoms.

Consequently, it is vital to distinguish between a cold, flu and seasonal allergies. The problem is that both conditions usually present the same signs and symptoms, yet the treatment of each one of them is very different.

Below are tips of telling the difference between a cold, an allergy and the flu:

A cold

If you have a cold, there’s bound to be congestion, a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and stuffy nose. A cold is common to many people and can go up to two weeks. In most cases, the symptoms of a cold and a flu might be very difficult to distinguish. However, the symptoms of a cold are less mild with lower fevers (if any) and no fatigue.

The flu

If you have the flu, you are bound to have all the symptoms exhibited with a common cold. However, your fever can be higher than that of a cold – (100-120° F) or even higher in children and can go for three to five days.

Besides that, the flu can also result in lethargy, headache, exhaustion, body aches, cough, respiratory discomfort, weakness, and pain. For an adult, the flu can last between one to two days.

How do you treat the flu?

Other than fluids and a lot of resting, you can use aspirin to treat the pains, aches, and fever of the flu. You should, however, be careful not to overdose yourself (through the unintentional overlap of drugs). For instance, certain drugs contain more than a single active ingredient.

Therefore, if you are taking Tylenol, to treat fever and at the same time taking Dayquil for a cold symptom, you should understand that both drugs have acetaminophen.

Allergies

Allergies are completely different from the flu and the common cold. Despite the fact that they sometimes present similar symptoms to those of a cold and flu, allergies are not brought about by viruses. Allergies are conditions that happen due to your body reacting to the environmental triggers.

Allergies can be cured by over-the-counter steroids, antihistamines, and decongestants. For chronic allergic cases, a doctor might prescribe strength allergy medications or allergens associated with them.

The best way to treat the flu, cold and allergies are to better understand their symptoms. It is impossible to treat symptoms that you aren’t sure of.

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