Is It a Cold or Allergies Causing My Stuffy Nose? - South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center

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Is It a Cold or Allergies Causing My Stuffy Nose?

Are you one of the many Floridians experiencing a runny nose, sinus pressure, or congestion? If so, you may initially believe you have the common cold, but not so fast. While many of these symptoms are hallmarks of a cold, they are also associated with allergies. So, before reaching for that bottle of cold medicine, let’s discuss the differences between the common cold and allergies, as well as why you may need a trip to South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center for sinus allergy relief.

The Common Cold

Often abbreviated as just “a cold,” the common cold is caused by a strain of viruses. Cold symptoms can vary in intensity, but they are frequent across most strains. Some characteristics that are particular to the common cold (as opposed to allergies) include:

  • Unlike allergies, colds can be transmitted via contagious individuals through bodily contact or air exposure in the form of coughing and sneezing.
  • Individuals experiencing a cold often suffer from a sore throat.
  • Fever, chills, sweating, and general body aches are all symptoms of a cold.
  • Mucus discharge tends to be green or yellow during a cold (or a sinus infection).
  • Cold symptoms are often temporary and subside within a week or two, though in some cases, a cold can lead to more serious health complications, such as pneumonia. 

Allergies

In contrast to a cold, allergies are not caused by a virus. Instead, allergens (dust, pollen, hair, etc.) are the root cause of allergies. These allergens may adversely affect certain individuals and not others. While allergy-related symptoms are similar to those seen in the common cold in that they both affect the sinuses, there are some notable differences:

  • People suffer from allergies year-round, especially in South Florida, whereas colds tend to stick to certain times of the year (cold season).
  • Allergy symptoms may fluctuate in intensity from season to season, but unlike cold-related ailments, they rarely just disappear.
  • Coughing is common to both allergies and colds, but a dry cough is indicative of allergies.
  • Mucus from the afflicted sinuses often appears clear and thin when dealing with allergies.
  • Itchy or watery eyes and irritated skin are all calling cards of allergies.

Treatments

No matter their similarities, colds and allergies demand specific treatments.

Cold

Once you contract a cold, there is little you can do beyond alleviating symptoms. Since it is a virus, antibiotics will not work. Most experts suggest a proper hydration routine, coupled with nasal sprays, utilizing pain relievers and cough syrup if necessary. In most cases, a common cold will subside within a week or two. 

Allergies

Allergy treatment is a different matter. Since allergies are related to physical irritants in your environment, it’s important to try and stay away from these substances. However, that is easier said than done, especially when those allergens are abundant in your area. Therefore, your best bet would be to visit an allergy specialist, like Dr. Mandel. With a certified otolaryngologist and allergist on your side, you’ll receive a first-class allergy test to determine what allergens are bothering you. From here, they will provide you with the opportunity to undergo one of several kinds of immunotherapy that can provide long-term relief from symptoms associated with allergies.

Find Florida Allergy Relief at South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center

Are you suffering from symptoms associated with allergies? If so, you need to contact South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center for an allergy test under the supervision of Dr. Mandel and his team of expert practitioners. Don’t go another day without knowing what allergens are causing your sinus issues. Call us today at 954-866-7148 or request an appointment online to begin breathing easier and living a better life with the help of one of our long-lasting treatment plans.