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Common cold VS allergic rhinitis: What is the difference?

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Some people may get confused about the difference of common cold and allergic rhinitis since some of its symptoms are almost the same but the causes are different.
Allergic rhinitis is a reaction to exposure to allergens, such as dander, grass pollen, dust, and molds. On the other hand, viruses cause common colds.
To make the differences more clear, here are the causes and symptoms of allergic rhinitis and common colds, according to Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates of Tampa Bay and Healthline:
Causes of allergic rhinitis
• dust mites
• animal dander or saliva, such as from a cat or dog
• mold
• foods, such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, and eggs
Symptoms are:
• Itchy, watery eyes
• Sneezing
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Itchy nose
• Post-nasal drip
• Fatigue
• Cough
Allergic rhinitis can cause rashes and itchy eyes and it is not common in people with colds. As soon as you are exposed to an allergen, you will immediately experience sneezing and rashes.
To get relief from allergic rhinitis, you may take over-the-counter antihistamines, such as fexofenadine (Allegra), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), cetirizine (Zyrtec) and loratadine (Claritin).
Cause of common colds
• Viruses
Symptoms are:
• Cough
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Sore throat
• Body aches
• Fatigue
Unlike allergic rhinitis, the symptoms of common colds usually start at least 2-3 days after exposure. Most people infected by a common cold virus will feel better within three to 14 days. If symptoms persist for more than 14 days and are not improving, talk to your doctor.
The remedies for colds are cough syrups and over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications, decongestant nasal sprays, and pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Always observe first before you take medications for colds and allergies. Knowing which one you have can help you recover and take the proper treatment.
If your symptoms last more than 10 days or are getting worse, it is recommended to see a doctor. (KBAPI)

Last Modified: 2023-Jan-12 16.29.09 UTC+0800