Skip to Content

Is it a cold or an allergy?

Published on July 21, 2015

Is it a cold or an allergy?

Denise Lenarz, MD, Pediatrician
CentraCare Clinic - Health Plaza Pediatrics


Cold or allergery?It can be difficult for parents to tell whether their child has a cold or allergies, but there are ways to distinguish between the two.

Symptoms for both colds and allergies include:

  • Runny, stuffy or itchy noses
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

Children who have allergies have much more itching of their noses. They often have fits of sneezing and usually rub their noses in an upward motion. They also complain about an itchy, scratchy throat or itchy eyes. Nasal discharge is usually clear if someone has allergies and yellowish if someone has a cold.

Tips to ease seasonal allergies symptoms:

  • Keep home and car windows closed.
  • Change home air conditioner filters every month.
  • Have children wash their face, hands and hair after they’ve been outside.
  • Flush their eyes with a nonprescription saline solution.
  • After kids have been outside, they should change their clothes. The clothing should be washed to remove pollen and other allergens.
  • Limit children’s outdoor activity in the early morning, when pollen counts are higher.
  • Make sure children are taking their allergy medicine daily during pollen season.

Health information accessed through www.centracare.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We strive to present reliable, up-to-date health information on our web site and “For the Health of It” blog. However, this information is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing or prescribing. Please contact your health care provider if you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health. Log in to MyChart to send a secure message to your provider.