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Because of similar symptoms of both allergy and cold, instead of visiting allergy specialist people assume their condition themselves and start taking medications. It is a puzzle that confuses so many people that what is the difference between allergy and cold. Well, keep on reading to clear your confusion.


Allergies are triggered when a foreign particle enters your body. Your immune response to the allergen is usually hypersensitive. These allergens could be pollen, dander or bee venom.


There are several causes of allergy and each of them differs from those of cold. Make sure you clear this concept in your mind and don’t get puzzled anymore. The common causes of allergy are:

  • Many children suffer allergies in their younger age which goes away or reduces to a great extent when they grow up so, young age could be a factor.
  • Family history of allergy or asthma
  • Asthma
  • Low exposure to sunlight
  • A child born by C-section is likely to develop allergies


Allergens are present everywhere and there are several allergens that can trigger allergic reactions. Food is also likely to cause allergies or you can be allergic to a particular component of the food. These common allergens include:

  • Plant pollen
  • Animal dander
  • Dust mites
  • Insect stings mostly; bee venom, mosquito stings, wasp venom.
  • Nickel, zinc, chromium, cobalt
  • Household chemicals such as surface cleaners

Food that can cause allergies are:

  • Peanuts
  • Fish
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Milk
  • Beans
  • Whole egg or egg-white
  • Nuts
  • Shellfish

Symptoms of Allergies

There are many types of allergies and symptoms for each is different. Below is the breakdown:

Food allergy – Hives, fatigue, tingling in the mouth, nausea, swelling of the tongue or lips.

Seasonal allergy – Itchy nose and eyes, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, swollen eyes.

Drug allergy – Itchiness in the skin, hives, wheezing, rash.

Severe allergy (Anaphylaxis) – Difficulty in breathing, lightheadedness, unconsciousness, nausea, vomiting, skin rash, reduced blood pressure.

Diagnosis of Allergies

As soon as you notice any of the allergy symptoms, rush to the doctor for a diagnosis. They would do some allergy testing on you to figure out the actual condition. Here is how allergies are diagnosed:

Blood test: It is also known as radioallergosorbent test and is done to determine the total count of antibody ‘Immunoglobin E’ in your body.

Skin test: This allergy testing is also called prick testing. A small allergen is used to prick the skin and if any reaction occurs, it is determined that you have an allergy.


The best way to treat an allergy is to prevent allergy. You can do this if you avoid your exposure to the allergens. However, many over-the-counter medications are also prescribed for treatment.


Cold is basically a viral infection in the upper respiratory tract of your body.


The main cause of cold is viruses. Different types of viruses can cause cold but the most common one is the rhinovirus. The virus that causes cold makes it way through the mouth, nose or eyes and enters your body.

If there is someone in a room having a cold and he/she talks, sneezes or coughs then the virus can spread from the droplets in air as well. Furthermore, hand-to-hand contact with the cold patient, sharing their objects like towel, telephone, clothes can also cause the spread of the virus.

Some other causes of cold could be:

  • The season for example; fall and winter are the time when people usually get cold.
  • Age factor, mostly children under the age of 6 years catch cold much easily and frequently.
  • Smoking
  • Weak immune system

Symptoms of Cold

Symptoms of cold can be similar to those of an allergy, these include:

  • Congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Either nasal drainage or stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Mild fever and body aches


Doctors usually diagnose cold by visible symptoms. However, if your cold is pretty severe and some other condition is suspected by the doctor, he/she would run some tests and chest x-ray to figure out the actual cause and condition.

Treatment of Cold

There is no such cure of cold that can eliminate it completely however, its symptoms are relieved by some antibiotics and by bed rest.

The differences between both the conditions are mentioned above clearly. Make sure that before assuming your condition and treating yourself on your own, you visit an allergy clinic Manassas for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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