Is It an Allergy, Flu or a Cold? How to Spot the Difference

Is It an Allergy, Flu or a Cold? How to Spot the Difference

Have a scratchy throat, a slight pressure in your head, perhaps the start of nasal congestion? "It is probably just my allergies," may be your first reaction. But could it be something more? Could you be coming down with a cold or even the flu? Is it time to take evasive action to ensure a swift recovery?

Telling these conditions apart is not easy since they present so similarly. Following are some pointers which may help you to figure which you are likely to have and treat yourself accordingly.


Both a cold and seasonal flu are likely to last for up to two weeks. Allergies may be present for a much shorter or longer duration of time. They may also come and go frequently based on factors such as the direction of the wind or the time of day.

You could have the allergy for just a few hours, or you could have it for weeks. If multiple allergens affect you, your symptoms could last months. Some people may have allergies throughout the year (including to indoor allergens).


If you have a fever, that is a pretty strong indicator that you have the flu. But it could also be a sign that you have a head cold in some circumstances. Allergies do not cause fevers.

Aches and Pains

If your head or body aches, this commonly points toward the flu, but could also be an indication of a cold. Generalized aches and pains should not be present if all you have are allergies. You could have a headache, however.

Nasal Symptoms

You might have symptoms of nasal congestion with the flu, but they are more common with seasonal allergies or the common cold. Your nose could be blocked up in some cases and runny in others.

Sore Throat

A sore throat is most common with the cold, but it can also occur with a flu or an allergy.  


Coughing is more common with the flu or a cold than it is with allergies. Particularly severe coughing is most likely to be associated with the flu.


You might sneeze with the flu, but it is more common if you have an allergy or a seasonal cold.

Pain in the Chest

If you have chest pain along with some of these other symptoms, a flu or cold are your top culprits. This symptom is only likely to show up with an allergy if you also have asthma.

Exhaustion, Weakness or Fatigue

You will probably only be hit by extreme fatigue with the flu, not a cold or an allergy. It is most common during the onset. Fatigue and weakness are also most prominent with a flu, but can show up with allergies or colds as well.

With either a flu or the cold, getting the hydration and rest you need to heal is important. Medications such as NSAIDs and decongestants can help. Allergies are usually treated with decongestants, antihistamines or nasal steroids.

Regardless of what you have, you could probably use some extra support for your sinuses. Try pairing up the treatment methods above with a healthy herbal supplement for seasonal and sinus needs.





Sinus & Seasonal is a dietary supplement taken daily to help support sinus & nasal health and promote seasonal comfort. The 60 vegetarian capsules contain herbal extra...