Do you get the sniffles around the same time every year? While it may be a common cold, you could be suffering from seasonal allergies. Either can cause coughing, sneezing, and a runny or stuffy nose. Allergies usually come with itchy eyes, but not fever or the general aches and pains you might get when you have a bad cold.

Common colds are caused by viruses, while seasonal allergies are caused by your immune system reacting to things you’re allergic to. Knowing the difference will make it easier to find relief.

If you suspect seasonal allergies, try to avoid triggers such as pollen or dust as much as possible, and talk to your doctor about using nasal sprays, antihistamines, or decongestants to control your symptoms during allergy season.

There’s no cure for a cold, but getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of water and other fluids can help you feel better. If you use over-the-counter pain relievers or decongestants, be sure to read and follow the directions on the label. They may ease symptoms, but won’t make your cold go away any faster. A cold usually lasts between 3 and 10 days.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends these steps to help keep from catching a cold:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay away from people who are sick.


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