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Allergy Symptoms Compared With Cold Symptoms

Allergy Symptoms vs. Cold Symptoms

Winter is slowly receding and in many places Spring has sprung (even though we have to wait a week for the official season change). With Spring weather comes blooming plants, trees and shrubs and with them pollen, the irritant that brings on hay fever. I for one live in denial of seasonal allergies and just like to pretend that I have a cold . . . a cold that goes on forever.

Since allergy season is upon us (or about to be depending on where you live), I thought it might be useful to compare the symptoms of the common cold with allergy symptoms.

  • Itchy nose: Although allergies and colds both produce a runny nose and congestion, allergies create the dreaded itchy nose. The itch generally occurs in the back of the nose and is difficult to "scratch." Folks suffering from "nasal pruritus" (the fanciest way in the world to say itchy nose) often scrunch up their faces, like a bunny, to try to alleviate the itch.
  • The sneeze: Sneezing frequently, and sometimes quietly, is common with allergies. Sneezes from colds tend to be loud, deep and infrequent, attempting to clear the bronchial congestion down in the lungs. Allergy sneezes, on the other hand, are an attempt to remove allergens from the nose.
  • Runny Eyes: While eyes might occasionally water with a cold, they will run profusely with allergies.
  • Unfortunately, the list of symptoms is a bit longer, so


  • Mucus color: Mucus (yep, snot) is generally clear with allergies, where as with a cold it tends to have a color – yellow to green.
  • Dark Circles under the eyes: This symptom is sometimes referred to poetically as the "allergy shiner". These "shiners" are caused by the inability of veins in the area to drain due to chronic nasal congestion. It is like a traffic jam in your infraorbital area. Common colds do not cause these.

So if you too are in allergy denial hopefully this list will help you figure out that you might indeed have hay fever and need to leave the weeding and lawn mowing to someone else for now.


Join The Conversation
ASpoonfulofSugar ASpoonfulofSugar 9 years
I have allergies allllll year looooooong (that was supposed to sound dramatic). I do the "bunny face" way too much--I never realized it was because of allergies. Good to know I'm less weird than I thought...ha!
emalove emalove 9 years
Mine seem to get worse every year too, Liss. I have indoor AND outdoor allergies. No fun at all.
Novaraen Novaraen 9 years
I swear i never had allergies until after i had my boys. I have no idea what the reason for that is...but my allergies are terrible these days!! I rely heavily on nose sprays like afrin to quickly relieve my swollen nasal passages....and thank goodness for them!! I tried taking that Claritin D stuff...but it makes me feel so wired and crazy. Not fun. :(
rpenner rpenner 9 years
yeah, no allergies for me!
kiwitwist kiwitwist 9 years
that must be what is bothering me... I was hoping it was allergies but sometimes it turns into a cold
imLissy imLissy 9 years
mmm I'd rather be stuffy and warm. It's still so cold here :( My zyrtec is otc now :D Bring on the spring!
Kaori Kaori 9 years
Urgh. I didn't have allergies until about a year ago >___>
Liss1 Liss1 9 years
Yuck! My allergies seem to be getting worse every year :(
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Thank God I don't have allergies.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 9 years
Well, I guess I've developed allergies. I've been living in denial.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years poor allergies are starting to go buzerk!
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