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How to Tell if Your Child Has a Cold or Allergy?


Your child feels run down. Their nose is running. They are sneezing and coughing. You wonder if it is the common cold or perhaps they have a seasonal allergy? More importantly, you wonder if they are contagious.

Colds and allergies share many of the same symptoms, which makes it difficult to determine how best to treat them to provide relief. A cold is caused by a virus, and an allergy is triggered by an allergen. Many people who suffer from allergic rhinitis (hay fever) think they have a cold when it is an allergy.

A cold is often accompanied by other symptoms such as a sore throat and cough and lasts only 3-5 days. Allergic rhinitis tends to come and go and recur during the same season each year.

Common allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, red, watery or itchy eyes, chronic post nasal drip, congestion, headaches, itchy skin, hives and ear pain. If your child has one or more of these symptoms and the symptoms appear to be seasonal or recurrent throughout specific times of the year, they may be suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Symptom Cold Allergy
General aches and pain Sometimes Never
Fatigue Sometimes Sometimes
Itchy eyes Rarely Usually
Sneezing Usually Usually
Sore throat Usually Rarely
Runny nose Usually Usually
Stuffy nose Usually Usually
Fever Rarely Never
Cough Usually Sometimes

Based on National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 2014

If you suspect allergies may be the culprit, it is important that your child not avoid the outdoors. Schedule an appointment with their pediatrician to discuss allergy testing and the best treatment options available.

While decongestants improve drainage, prescription or over the counter antihistamines may be more helpful. Antihistamines block histamines, which cause allergy symptoms, within the body. Many people respond well to antihistamines; however, different antihistamines work better than others. Your child’s pediatrician can offer guidance as to the best antihistamines to trial based on their medical history. Your child may also benefit from immunotherapy. Immunotherapy builds up blocking antibodies by repeated exposure to the allergen. The repeated exposure reduces their allergic response and sometimes eliminates the allergy entirely.

The team at Rainbow Pediatrics is here to help provide relief whether your child has a cold or allergy. If your child has been suffering from cold or allergy symptoms, contact our office to schedule an appointment to be seen today.

 
 

Rainbow Pediatrics of Fayetteville
1327 Robeson Street
Fayetteville, NC 28305
Ph: (910) 486-KIDS (5437) Fax: (910) 486-0011

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