Do You Have Allergies or a Cold?

Do You Have Allergies or a Cold

Colds and allergies actually produce a lot of similar symptoms. Because of this, it can be difficult to distinguish what you are really dealing with. Some of the symptoms that are typically present with both common colds and allergies are fatigue, a runny nose, and even a sore throat in many instances.

However, they have very different causes. Colds occur when your body is exposed to a virus of some sort, while allergies present themselves typically on an annual basis and are triggered by exposure to common allergens. Highlighted below are some of the differences in symptoms and remedies for allergies and colds.

woman sneezing in a tissueAllergies vs. Colds

Ways to Tell the Difference

One of the main factors that can help you distinguish if you’re experiencing allergies is if the symptoms are consistent and persistent. If you are suffering from allergies, your symptoms are not going to gradually get better over time like they would with a cold. Therefore, if you have noticed the same symptoms for multiple days, you are likely experiencing allergies.

Another effective way to tell the two apart would be the color and the consistency of your mucus. If you notice that your mucus is completely clear and runny, it’s very a sign of allergies. If your mucus is thick and yellow or green in color, you are most likely dealing with a cold. Your mucus can tell you a lot about your health. When it changes colors like that, you are typically dealing with some sort of infection.

Another good way to tell if you are experiencing allergies is if you are experiencing itchy or watery eyes. It is very unusual to experience redness or persistent itching in your eyes when you are dealing with a cold. Additionally, if you notice your symptoms begin to flare up at the same time every year or when the pollen count outside is high, this is another tell-tale sign of allergies.

Impact on the Body

As mentioned previously, allergies are more persistent and consistent while a cold usually gets better with time. Typically, you will notice that a cold can impact your health anywhere from 7 to 10 days, but allergies stick around for much longer due to exposure to allergens.

If you notice that your body is physically hurting and you experience aches and pains that didn’t exist prior to experiencing cold symptoms, it’s likely that you’re experiencing infection from a virus. You are generally not going to experience any aches or pains when dealing with allergies.

Natural Remedies for Each

While the symptoms of allergies and colds are relatively similar, the natural remedies for each can differ considerably. For allergies, some of the best natural remedies involve flushing out your nasal cavities with a nasal solution and dealing with the irritation and inflammation typical of allergy symptoms.

When you have a cold, the best remedies are ones that boost immune function. That being said, there is one particular natural remedy that suits both very well: aromatherapy. 

mountain diffuser on rockHow Aromatherapy Can Help

Aromatherapy can be a very effective remedy for both colds and allergies because there are so many different essential oils that can help reduce the common symptoms of both.

By diffusing essential oils that are known to reduce inflammation like lavender, you will be able to prevent the inflammation that results when you are exposed to common allergens.1

Along with this, essential oils like eucalyptus feature anti-inflammatory properties, while offering a cooling sensation when breathed through the nostrils. This can provide relief for both cold and allergy symptoms.

One study looked at the effects of sandalwood, ravensara, and frankincense essential oils on perennial allergic rhinitis and found that it was effective for relieving symptoms.2

Lastly, both tea tree and peppermint oils have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce symptoms fo allergy sufferers and those with a common cold. Mountain MONQ contains peppermint essential oil to counter your worst allergy symptoms.

While there are plenty of commonalities between cold and allergy symptoms, there are specific ways to identify which condition you’re experiencing. By understanding what you have, you should be able to better attack the root cause of your symptoms.

Photo credits: TirachardKumtanom/, DimaBerlin/

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By Krista Burton

Krista is an aromatherapy enthusiast who enjoys writing and researching about all the new aromatherapy trends. When she’s not busy writing and researching you can find her dreaming about being on the beach.

Favorite MONQ blend: Ocean

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The above information relates to studies of specific individual essential oil ingredients, some of which are used in the essential oil blends for various MONQ diffusers. Please note, however, that while individual ingredients may have been shown to exhibit certain independent effects when used alone, the specific blends of ingredients contained in MONQ diffusers have not been tested. No specific claims are being made that use of any MONQ diffusers will lead to any of the effects discussed above.  Additionally, please note that MONQ diffusers have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. MONQ diffusers are not intended to be used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, prevention, or treatment of any disease or medical condition. If you have a health condition or concern, please consult a physician or your alternative health care provider prior to using MONQ diffusers. MONQ blends should not be inhaled into the lungs.

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