The confusion between common colds and allergies is paramount to achieving better quality of life when both can be completely differentiated from one another. This is a major problem to so many of us and I personally know people who are fed up with it. Its either the nose is stuffed up or running, they are always in the pharmacy to pick up a few drugs with the aim of getting better and at times you just get confused for what to give them next, obviously they have tried all the medications available in the pharmacy and they look at you like you don’t know what you are doing. The truth is that most of us actually don’t know what we are prescribing.

As health professionals, I think it is very important for us to know how to differentiate between the symptoms of common colds and allergies. Though it puzzles lots of folks when those familiar symptoms hit. You can ask yourself again, is all that sneezing and coughing from a cold or could it be because of allergies?

I am trying not to be skeptical but it’s sometimes a tough call most especially when some other people attribute those symptoms to a parasitic infection (malaria fever). I have heard people say” whenever I have malaria it comes with flu-like symptoms” I can’t doubt that though but the best way to detect malaria parasites is by visiting a medical laborato

Common cold and allergies share different epidemiology. Common cold is gotten through a tiny living thing called a virus. This happens when the virus gets into your body. When the immune defenses detect the intruders, they attack violently. The symptoms of common cold are the result of that counter –attack. It varies between individuals but most probably pronounced as cough or stuffed up nose. Some people experience headaches and body aches.

The viruses that cause common colds are contagious. You can get common cold by shaking hands with an infected person, in the same environment where the infected person is sneezing repeatedly, touching any object with droplets of the infected person. Avoid these by always having a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag.

But for ALLERGIES, it is a different story from common colds. All allergies are caused by an overactive immune system. What this means is that your immune system is trying to give your body 100% protection so while doing that it confuses harmless things such as dust for germs and attack them. The counter- attack causes your body to release chemicals such as histamine, the same way it does with common colds. The allergies cause a swelling in the passage ways of your nose due to the inflammation from the allergies (dust, pollens etc) and you will start sneezing and coughing. Allergies are not contagious unlike common colds.


These facts will show you the cause of your troubled cough and sneezing. Taking stock of your symptoms and how long they last is the best way to diffentiate between the two.

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