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A Cold or Allergies?

A Cold or Allergies?

What do you mean you have a cold? It's the middle of July! Of course, the season doesn't really determine whether you get sick or not, but sometimes it can be hard to figure out exactly what you're dealing with. When you come down with a case of the sniffles, do you find yourself wondering if your sickness is a result of a cold or allergies?

Here’s a little trick to figuring out which one you're dealing with.

Colds
Colds take longer to settle in to your system and then gradually get worse. Another way to tell it’s a cold is if you have a loss of appetite, headache, colored mucus and—the biggest giveaway—a fever.

Allergies
Allergies come on fast and furious, and the symptoms are more intense. They tend to leave as quickly as they started, usually once the allergen is no longer present. Allergies also have tell-tale signs such as itchiness in the eyes, nose and throat. There’s a genetic component to allergies: If one or both of your parents have allergies, you’re more likely to suffer from them.

And of course, you might also be itchy because of a bite from the bugs of summer.

What are your best tips for relief from colds and allergies? And is there anything worse than suffering a cold or allergies in the summer heat? [The New York Times]

Posted: 7/17/08