Does Your Child Have A Cold Or An Allergy?


Does Your Child Have A Cold Or An Allergy?

October 3, 2013

Watching your kids suffering from an illness is always distressing, and it goes without saying that crucial to helping them is figuring out what’s wrong in the first place.

For those of us who aren’t doctors this is easier said than done. Even something as theoretically straightforward as picking up on the difference between allergies and a common cold isn’t always easy. After all, sneezing, a blocked nose and fatigue can all be symptoms common to both conditions.

So how do you tell what’s causing those sneezes and sniffles? Here’s a list of questions you can ask to try and spot the difference.

What time of year is it?

Seasonality could be an indication. Traditionally common colds are more prevalent in the winter months, whereas the peak time for allergies is the spring – fall time.

How long have the symptoms persisted?

The longer the symptoms persist the more likely it is that your child will be suffering from an allergy or something that should require medical attention. Typically common colds should  7-10 days. Beyond this and you should consider the possibility that your child has an allergy or require a doctor’s visit to be sure it is nothing more serious. Also the allergy symptoms will only persist so long as there is exposure to the allergy trigger; so try to take note of situations where their symptoms become better or worse.

Are the symptoms synchronized?

Generally speaking, the different aspects of a cold will not appear all at once. For example you could see sneezing, then a runny nose, then congestion. With allergies it is much more likely that the symptoms will appear all at the same time.

What colour is the mucus?

It may not be pleasant to look at but this can be one clear distinction between colds and allergies. With a cold the discharge is more likely to be yellow, but with allergies, more often it will be clear and watery.  If there is production of thick yellow/green phlegm or mucus, with or without fever you should consult a doctor.

Does your child have a fever?

While getting a fever may not be something that happens with every common cold, they are even rarer with allergies. If your child has a fever this suggests that it may not be an allergy that is causing the other symptoms. If your child is very young or if the fever persists you should speak to a doctor.

Do the symptoms include itchy eyes?

This can be a telltale sign that allergies are at the root of the problem rather than a passing cold. Itchy, watery eyes are much more likely to be a sign of an allergic reaction than by a cold virus.

This should give you a better idea of how to spot what it is that’s afflicting your kids. Of course, playing doctor yourself is no substitute for seeing a qualified medical professional. If symptoms persist or if you are unsure, make an appointment to see a doctor.

Want to know more about allergies? Visit us here for more information.



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