Do you have fall allergies or a cold?

Learning to tell the difference between fall allergies and a cold is a big step in figuring out the best course of treatment.
Do you have fall allergies or a cold?

Fall weather brings a refreshing chill to the air and the promise of all the fun traditions the season has to offer, like Thanksgiving dinners, and pinecone collecting, to name a few. The last thing anyone has time for is a runny nose, itchy throat, and sneezing that may or may not be cold. Learning to tell the difference between fall allergies and a cold is a big step in figuring out the best course of treatment.


Fall allergies and colds share a lot of the same symptoms , but there are a few distinguishing indicators to let you know what you’re dealing with; for example, allergies don’t normally come with the aches and pains that might come with a cold. A cold doesn’t come with the same itchiness an allergy would bring, so whether it is affecting your nose, eyes, or throat, any kind of itchiness is a telltale sign you are suffering from allergies.

Symptom duration

How long you suffer from these symptoms is another way to tell if you’re dealing with fall allergies or a cold. Normally symptoms for a cold will last seven to ten days, then clear up; with allergies, symptoms can last for weeks or even months.


Examine how the symptoms developed —did they creep up one by one? That’s the sign of a cold. If they hit you all at once, then most likely you have allergies. For the most part, allergy symptoms begin as soon as you’re exposed to the allergen that’s causing all the trouble, whether it be ragweed or other pollens.

Time of year

Technically, both environmental allergies and colds can happen at any time throughout the year, but for the most part, colds happen during the winter. Since allergies are oftentimes triggered by pollens , they can flare up whenever plants are pollinating. Another trigger for fall allergies is mold, since it becomes much more prevalent with the rain that accompanies the season.

If you’ve suffered from allergies for a long time, you can likely tell the difference between allergy and cold symptoms well, but if you’re realizing you’re allergic to things later in life, it might take some practice before you can learn when you have a cold and when it’s fall allergies . If you’re sure you have a cold, you might have to do a little more super sleuthing to make sure it’s not the flu , but a little investigation and a lot of education goes a long way in making sure you’re going to be healthy enough to enjoy the fall season.