Being sick sucks. As do allergies — especially when the rains have caused mold levels to skyrocket. But sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.
So, with mold high and flu season here, how do you know whether you’re sick or have allergies? Allergies, common colds and the flu have similar symptoms but are treated differently. The Texas A&M College of Nursing has tips:
- Start with full body aches. Itchy eyes, a runny nose or congestion could be allergies, a cold or the flu. But if you’ve got deep aches in your legs, back or other large muscles, it’s probably the flu. Likewise, extreme fever and severe exhaustion probably mean the flu.
- Do you have a fever? Then it’s not allergies. (Cedar fever is a colloquialism that does not bring on an actual fever.) If there is no major muscle soreness, extreme fever (more than 101 degrees) or severe exhaustion, it’s probably a cold. A cold does have a variety of symptoms, including: mild fatigue, fever, cough, a sore throat, congestion/runny nose/sneezing, watery eyes/nose, head/chest/nasal congestion
- If it’s just coughing, itchy eyes, congestion and/or sneezing, without any of the above symptoms, it’s probably allergies. Doesn’t matter if you haven’t had allergies before. You can develop them anytime in life.
In all cases, staying hydrated helps. A cold should heal on its own in a few days, provided you get some rest. The flu probably warrants a trip to the doctor, according to the A&M experts. Nasal rinsing can help with allergies. But if it’s cedar fever, don’t expect miracles. Life is probably going to be miserable.