Breaking News
More () »

Sacramento's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Sacramento, California | ABC10.com

Cold or allergies: How to tell what's making you sick

This spring, cold and flu season overlap with allergy season

Allergy season in Sacramento is beginning before cold and flu season is really over—so, how do you tell the difference?

With a cold, you’re treating the symptoms—things like congestion, sneezing, a runny nose and a sore throat.

With allergies, you can take antihistamines to stop the reaction in the first place. Since so many of the symptoms are similar, how do you know what’s causing your sickness?

Our sister station in St.Louis (KSDK) checked in with the doctors at an urgent care center. They gave this breakdown of how to tell whether that sniffling and sneezing is from a cold or allergies.

You have a virus if: 

  • You have a fever
  • Your symptoms pop up quickly
  • The worst symptoms last several days

It’s allergies if:

  • You have itchy eyes, ears or throat—that type of irritation isn’t common with a cold.
  • The symptoms creep up with the season and will last as long as the instigating allergen is present. That could be weeks!

If you have a fever of 102 degrees or higher, it’s likely the flu. If you have a persistent headache or your sickness started as allergic reactions, it could also be a sinus infection. In either case, visit your doctor.


Why you shouldn't wait to treat your allergies

Signs your child may have seasonal allergies

Officials: More flu cases this year, strain is less severe