Spring has sprung. It’s time for warmer weather, the end of the school year crunch, and unfortunately allergies! It can be easy to mix up cold and allergy symptoms. Get the low down on both below!


The Lowdown on Colds

  • Cause: virus
  • Duration: 3-14 days
  • Most prevalent: mostly occur in the winter but colds are possible at any time
  • Onset of symptoms: appear a few days after infected by virus
  • Symptoms: can include nasal/head congestion, *runny nose with yellow mucus
  • Prevention: avoid close contact with sick people, cover your cough/sneeze into your elbow, wash hands often

The Lowdown on Allergies

  • Cause: overactive immune  system that mistakes harmless substances for germs and attacks them
  • Duration: days to months, as long as you are exposed to the allergen
  • Most prevalent: any time; some allergies are seasonal (ex.  pollen)
  • Onset of symptoms: immediate
  • Symptoms: *runny nose with clear mucus, coughing, sneezing
  • Prevention: avoid substances you are allergic to

Treating Colds and Allergies

  • Antihistamines: block the effects of  histamine, which causes congestion, itchy eyes, sneezing etc. (ex: Claritin, Zyrtec)
  • Decongestants: help you feel less stuffed up (ex: Sudafed)
  • Take care of yourself: get extra rest and fluids.
  • Avoid Alcohol when taking these medications

 If symptoms seem severe or long-lasting, call the Health Center (610-436-2509) or see your doctor.