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Hay Fever vs. the Common Cold: Which One Is It?

young girl blows her noseIronically, hay fever has nothing to do with hay and it’s not even a fever. This condition is also called allergic rhinitis, and it’s caused by allergens such as pet dander, mold, dust mites, and cockroach particles. Hay fever and the common cold have very similar symptoms. Keep reading to learn how you can determine which one you have and what to do about it.

The Difference Between Hay Fever & the Common Cold

You can determine if you’re suffering from hay fever or the common cold by three signs: what symptoms you have, how long these symptoms last, and how quickly these symptoms presented themselves.

With hay fever, you’ll likely experience symptoms such as a runny nose with watery discharge, coughing, itchy eyes, and congestion. When you are near the allergens that are triggering this immune system response, your symptoms will begin immediately. Likewise, when you remove yourself from the trigger, your symptoms will disappear. Allergic rhinitis does not cause a fever.

If you have the common cold, you may have symptoms such as a runny nose with thick, yellow discharge, sneezing, sore throat, and congestion. Your body will likely ache and produce a low-grade fever. You’ll experience these symptoms roughly 1 – 3 days after being exposed to the cold virus, and it can take up to one week for your body to rid itself of the virus.

Hay Fever Relief

Because hay fever symptoms are caused by your immune system overreacting to an allergen, you can teach your body that the allergen is not a threat. This can be accomplished through immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots. Other treatment options include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Eye drops
  • Medications
  • Nasal spray
  • Steroids

The Langford Allergy team will be happy to help you find relief from hay fever! If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call us: 478-787-4728.