Do I have Allergies, a Sinus Infection, or a Summer Cold?

AdobeStock_337000567_small.jpgIt could be a stuffy feeling, congestion, or even a sneeze that triggers that first question...

“Am I sick, or are these allergies?”

It’s certainly not unreasonable to wonder - so many symptoms can overlap when it comes to allergies and illnesses. How can you tell these conditions apart? Most of the time, you can probably go through your symptoms and rule out one or the other.

Is it allergies?

As you are likely aware, allergens are usually tiny particles that irritate your nasal passages, eyes, and even skin. Is there an itchy sensation? If so, then you’re likely experiencing allergies. Also, if it’s worse during certain times of the day like early morning, or late afternoon and evening then it is likely caused by pollen. Or if the symptoms get worse inside certain areas, it could be mold, pet dander, or pests. And while allergies can make you feel a bit tired, aches and fever are not associated with allergies.

Is it a cold?

If you are feeling really run down, achy, and even running a fever, it’s possible that you have a cold. Colds also usually come on quickly and then start to clear up after several days. Allergies tend to hang around much longer. Colds also come with whole-body aches and pains. Colds can also include sore throats, headaches, and a runny nose. In most cases, they tend to clear up in 7-10 days.

When it’s a sinus infection.

Sinus infections can develop on their own, or as a result of a cold. They’re caused when mucus becomes trapped in the sinus cavity and can cause very intense pain around the eyes and the bridge of the nose. The mucus tends to be thick, discolored and can cause bad breath. Sinus infections can clear up on their own, but if they last longer than a couple of weeks then it’s time to see your doctor.

If you’ve compared your symptoms and you’re still not sure what’s causing them then it’s a good idea to see your doctor. This is especially true if you’re running a fever and haven’t seen any improvement in a couple of weeks.