How Do I Know if I Have A Cold Or if It Is Seasonal Allergies?

If you have had seasonal allergies for a number of years now, chances are you know it is related to change of season and exposure to seasonal allergens and that it has nothing to do with having a cold. But for some people, it may be a new phenomenon and seasonal allergies may be mistaken as a cold as there are some symptoms that overlap. Here are some ways to differentiate between the two.


Cold: any time of year, more common in winter time

Allergies:  during specific seasons usually spring, summer or fall, though it can be during any season or experienced all year around


Cold: up to 2 weeks

Allergies: months or as long as exposed to the seasonal allergens


Note some of these symptoms may overlap. The most common symptoms pertaining to each is listed.

Cold: mucous usually has a yellow tinge to it, sore throat (often), aches and pains (sometimes)

Allergies: itchy watery eyes, itchy/irritation in nose, clear and often copious amounts of mucous, sneezing usually repeatedly within a short time, tickle sensation in throat or nasal passages


Cold: sometimes

Allergies: never (unless have a secondary infection)

Family history

Individuals with seasonal allergies may have other family members with seasonal allergies/allergic tendencies

Knowing if you have the cold or seasonal allergies is important because the treatment for each is different.  Sometimes too, cold and allergies can occur at the same time. Severe seasonal allergies and subsequent mucous formation can be a breeding environment for bacteria to grow and lead to a cold.

Wellness Naturopathic Centre, North Vancouver, BC

The information on this website is for education purposes only. It does not substitute for proper assessment and treatment by a licensed health care provider.


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