Just Ard / CC BY NC ND 2.0

Do You Have Allergies, A Cold, Or The Flu?

It can be tough to tell if you have allergies, a cold or the flu. Here's a guide to help you figure it out.

By Madison Burke | January 10, 2015

Sometimes it's tough to tell if you have the flu, a common cold or just allergies. 

All of these ailments can cause a stuffy or runny nose, a sore throat, a headache and cough, so you might have to focus on other factors to self-diagnose.  

If you are feeling the effects of allergies, you typically won't have a fever or much fatigue or body aches. And your symptoms likely come back every year in January or in the spring.

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If you have a cold, you might have a mild fever and some body aches. You might feel week and even have some ear congestion. Colds generally last about a week. 

Colds can happen at any time of the year, and, of course, over-the-counter medication can be used to treat symptoms. 

If you have the flu, you may have a fever above 100 degrees, mild to severe body aches and a severe headache.

Over-the-counter medications are available to help with flu symptoms and antiviral medications can be prescribed to make the illness milder and prevent complications.  

HealthCentral says patients should see a doctor if their symptoms become severe, if a cough lasts more than 10 days or if they have a prolonged, high fever. 

This video includes images from Getty Images, Just Ard / CC BY NC ND 2.0Claus Rebler / CC BY SA 2.0.

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