Is It A Summer Cold or Allergies?

Is it a summer cold or allergies? No one wants to suffer from a summer cold or allergies, as both are unwelcomed visitors in our lives. The symptoms of both conditions hang out on a blurry line, which doesn’t make this any easier. I have the information you need to decide if you are a victim of a cold, allergies, or both.

ummer-cold-or-allergies

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What Are Allergies?

Medlineplus.gov summarizes an allergy asAn allergy is a reaction by your immune system to something that does not bother most other people. People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one thing.” In short, your immune system is sounding off an irrational alarm to fight off an “invader”. 

Allergy Symptoms

allergy symptoms infographic- common symptoms (stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing), uncommon (chest discomfort, body aches and pains), rare (headache, rash, chills, fever).

Infographic Information Sources: AAFA, NCBI. 

Allergy symptoms come in a variety of forms. Listed are the symptoms that you would likely associate with allergies (and possibly cold). Please note that this list is not all-inclusive. 

Common 

  • Stuffy Nose
  • Runny Nose
  • Sneezing 

 

Uncommon or “Sometimes”

  • Sore Throat 
  • Cough 
  • Rash 
  • Hives

Rare

  • Headache
  • Chest Discomfort (unless suffering from allergic asthma)

 

Never

  • Fever
  • Aches 
  • Chills 

Allergy Symptoms Onset and Duration

Onset

Allergy symptom onset is almost instant; you are exposed to the allergen and your body reacts. 

 

Duration

Allergy symptom duration is based on how long you are exposed to what you are allergic to. If you suffer from pollen allergies, you will probably experience discomfort mostly in the spring or fall. 

Once you remove yourself from the allergen, your symptoms should begin improving. 

What is A Summer Cold?

allergy-preventions-colds-fact-adults-have-an-average-of-2-3-colds-per-year

A summer cold is quite literally a cold that you catch in the summer. There is no difference between a summer cold, winter cold, spring cold, or fall cold, besides the time of year you become ill. 

A cold in general is caused by the Rhinovirus, affecting each adult 2-3 times a year on average. (and children even more). That means U.S. adults experience an accumulative of 627 million colds annually.

Even though a common cold is…common, it doesn’t make it any more pleasant to experience. 

Summer Cold Symptoms 

summer cold symptoms Infographic describing the common (sore throat, sneezing, stuffy nose, cough), uncommon or

Infographic Information Sources: CDC.govNCBI

Common

  • Sore Throat 
  • Stuffy Nose 
  • Sneezing 
  • Cough [spacer height=”20px”]

Uncommon or “Sometimes”

  • Chest discomfort 
  • Aches 

Rare

  • Chills 
  • Fever 
  • Headache
  • Rash 

Never

With my research, it seems that just about any symptom is possible with a cold. 

Summer Cold Onset and Duration

Onset 

The typical onset of a cold starts with a gradual increase of symptoms and severity over 1-3 days. The symptoms experienced vary from person to person and you may only experience 1 or 2 (if you are lucky).

Duration

The duration of a cold is less than two weeks, but this can vary depending on your current health and pre-existing conditions. 

Difference Between A Summer Cold and Allergies

difference between a summer cold and allergies infographic. covering duration of symptoms, mucus color and thickness, itchy eyes, sore throat and cough, as well as aches and pains

Infographic Information Sources: University of Utah, Allergy Free

We have learned that both summer colds and allergies tend to give you a runny/stuffy nose and sneezing. Now that those are out of the way, there are a few (somewhat) distinct differences to look for when determining if you are experiencing a cold or allergies.

Duration of Symptoms

  • Colds tend to get better as time goes on, and can fully resolve in about 7 – 10 days
  • Allergies continue until you remove yourself from the allergen

Mucus Color & Thickness

  • Mucus with allergies is usually thin and clear compared to mucus with a cold
  • Mucus with a cold is usually thick and might be yellow or green. 

Itchy Eyes

Itchy eyes are more common with allergies. You can have itchy eyes with a cold, but it is uncommon. 

Sore Throat

A Sore throat is more common with a cold, and only sometimes a symptom associated with allergies. 

General Aches and Pains

General Aches are more commonly associated with colds, and it is uncommon to experience aches and pains as an allergy symptom. 

Cough

Allergies can sometimes cause coughing, but it is more so a symptom of a cold.  Colds and allergies can produce similar symptoms, but I hope this information helped you narrow it down to one culprit. 

Luckily there are some options to help ease your symptoms from colds and allergies.

Treatment Options

Allergy Treatment Options

The best treatment option for allergies is avoidance or removing yourself from the allergen, but that isn’t always feasible. You might not even know what you are allergic to. 

Here are a few allergy treatment options to ease your symptoms. 

  • Antihistamines
  • Netty Pot (Natural nasal wash)
  • Nasal Spray
  • Decongestants
  • HEPA filter[spacer height=”20px”]

Summer Cold Treatment Options

There is not a cure for colds, which means we are left with just managing our symptoms.  These treatment options should aid in your recovery, and get you feeling better. 

  • Rest
  • Hydration
  • Decongestants
  • Pain relievers [spacer height=”20px”]

Allergy and/or Summer Cold Treatment Options

If you believe you are suffering from allergies AND a cold, here are the top recommendations. 

  • Rest
  • Hydration
  • Netty Pot
  • Decongestants
  • Antihistamines 
  • HEPA filter (removes allergens and airborne bacteria/viruses)[spacer height=”20px”]

Final Thoughts

I hope you were able to use this information in deciding if this is a summer cold or allergies you are experiencing, as well as finding treatment options that work for you. 

Thank you for stopping by, and I wish you a speedy recovery! 

Up Next

Summer Allergy Treatment & Prevention Options

Are Summer Allergies A Thing?

Cold, Allergies, or Flu?

By Chris

Chris is the creator of Allergy Preventions. As an allergy sufferer himself, his vision is to help others find relief from allergies. By combining his 14 years of Public Health experience, personal experience, and his thirst for knowledge, he is dedicated to providing quality recommendations to assist families with allergy symptom relief.