Is Sneezing a Sign of a Cold or Allergies?

A runny or stuffy nose and non-stop sneezing can leave you feeling miserable, but is it a cold or are allergies taking a toll? Finding out whether your symptoms are caused by a cold or allergy is the first step to finding relief, according to allergist members of American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

Colds are contagious and are caused by one of more than 200 viruses. You can't catch allergies, which are triggered by allergens, prompting your immune system to overreact. There are many possible allergens, from pollen to pet dander. And while spring sneezing might be due to a cold, high levels of tree and grass pollens and mold spores cause misery at this time of year for the 60 million Americans who suffer from allergic rhinitis, often called hay fever.

So how can you tell whether it's a spring cold or spring allergies? Here are some general guidelines:

  • How does the suffering start?:
    Colds evolve, usually starting with a stuffy nose, throat irritation and low grade fever. Next comes the sneezing and a runny nose, with thickening mucus that often turns yellow or green. Common allergy symptoms include itchy eyes and nose, as well as sneezing, but the mucus is typically clear.
  • Can't shake your symptoms?:
    Colds usually run their course after a week or two. "Allergy symptoms, on the other hand, hang on or even increase as long as you are exposed to the allergen that is triggering your symptoms," said allergist Dr. Myron Zitt, past president of ACAAI. "For spring allergies that may mean six weeks or more."
  • Give me fever?:
    If you’re achy and feverish, you most likely have a cold.
  • Do your eyes have it?:
    Itchy eyes strongly suggest allergies, although eye discomfort can occur with a cold, too.
  • Say ahhh?:
    Although a sore throat and cough can occur with allergies, those symptoms more likely suggest you have a cold. Coughing, however, can be a sign of asthma, especially in children. A persistent cough should be evaluated by an allergist as other diseases can have this symptom, too.

Visit www.allergyandasthmarelief.org to take a relief self-test, find an allergist who can help you find out if you have allergies and develop a plan to stop your suffering.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Everything You Need to Know about Incident investigations

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe
Bulwark CP

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - October 2020

    October 2020

    Featuring:

    • FACILITY SECURITY
      EHS Compliance: Make it Personal
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      Choosing the Right Safety Shoe for Your Industry
    • HAND PROTECTION
      A Requirements Checklists for Work Safety Gloves
    • COVID-19 MANAGEMENT
      Contemporary Issues in HSE Management
    View This Issue