• 03 Feb, 2022
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Is it a Cold or Allergies? Symptoms to Check & Natural Remedies

As the temperatures drop, many people are faced with stuffy noses and itchy throats. But is it a cold or allergies? A cold is an infection caused by a virus. Allergies are your immune system’s reaction to a substance like pollen or pet dander. But because the two conditions cause similar symptoms, like sneezing, coughing, stuffy nose, and fatigue, it is easy to get both ailments mixed up. Knowing which is which can help you get the right treatment to help you feel better faster. Read about the differences between cold and allergy symptoms and find natural remedies for each.


Man Sneezing from Allergy Symptoms


Handling Allergies


You’re probably experiencing allergies if these symptoms apply: your mucus is clear or watery, your eyes are itchy or watery, your symptoms stay the same and last, and your symptoms show in certain situations.

When facing allergies, mucus typically stays clear and watery, as opposed to mucus during colds that thicken and may change color. It is also uncommon for colds to result in itchy or watery eyes, which are typically caused by irritation from allergies. As far as other symptoms go, allergies are unfortunately longer-term than colds. If your symptoms stay the same and they’ve lasted longer than a week, you are likely dealing with allergies. Luckily, allergy symptoms tend to be milder in the long run when compared to some of the more intense symptoms of a cold.

Symptoms may feel more intense for the first day or 2, but they will typically mellow out and stay the same day after day and can last several weeks or longer. Allergies also show up only in certain situations, from seasonal allergies in the spring and fall to being in an environment with allergens – such as being in a home with a dog or living in an area where pollen counts are high. A pro of allergies vs a cold include being able to remove yourself from a high-allergen situation to lessen symptoms.


Common Allergy Symptoms


  • Sneezing
  • Running or stuffy nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Itchy ears
  • Headache
  • Dry cough
  • Circles under eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Clear or watery mucus


Woman Using Infrared Sauna for Natural Allergy Remedy


Natural Allergy Remedies


Have an Infrared Sauna Session

Far infrared heat (FIR) has been shown in studies to relieve eye itching, nasal itching, nasal stuffiness, rhinorrhea (runny nose), and sneezing. Spending time in an infrared sauna can reduce your allergy symptoms with the FIR technology. Infrared saunas also help detoxify your body to reduce the number of toxins and allergens that may be present. You can diffuse essential oils in a sauna for a relaxing and detoxifying experience that further helps relieve allergy symptoms. Be sure to stay hydrated during and after your infrared sauna sessions.


Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Adding spices and anti-inflammatory foods to your diet can help clear up spring allergy symptoms. Your spice rack is filled with natural remedies for seasonal allergies. Look for anti-inflammatory items such as ginger and turmeric to add to your meals, and sprinkle some cayenne pepper to help clear nasal passages. A bowl of chicken soup is a great way to use these ingredients. Research also indicates that a mug of green tea can help you find allergy relief.


Take Probiotics

A weak immune system can lead to more intense reactions to seasonal allergies. One way to strengthen your immune system and treat allergies naturally is through probiotics. Probiotics help boost your immune system by introducing healthy bacteria to the gut, and studies have shown that the addition of probiotics to your diet can lessen allergy symptoms. You can add probiotics to your diet through fermented foods or probiotic capsules.


Be Active

Working out with a stuffy nose or scratchy throat doesn’t sound great, but it can be effective in naturally relieving seasonal allergies. Have you ever stood up and walked around with a stuffy nose to have it clear up? Working out does something similar. Working out increases blood flow and reduces inflammation which helps alleviate symptoms. Be sure to listen to your body and work out indoors to avoid outdoor allergens if they are affecting you.


Person Eating Anti Inflammatory Soup for Cold Symptom Relief


Handling Colds


If you have a cough, low fever, headache, or mild body aches, you’re likely dealing with a common cold. Colds are so prevalent because there are more than 200 cold viruses that spread.

Colds can sometimes be difficult to identify because different viruses cause different symptoms. Even so, a hacking cough, a fever, and achiness aren’t problems you usually see with allergies. The exception: Allergies can sometimes trigger a cough, but often coughing from allergies tends to feel and sound a bit different than coughing from a cold. One tell-tale sign of a cold is the color of your mucus. As immune cells fight back against the cold virus, they can make your mucus discolored or thick.

Another differentiator between cold and allergy symptoms is that cold symptoms change every few days. You may start out with a fever and stuffy nose, then have a sore throat for a few days, or get a cough or sinus pain before getting better. Colds tend to last for a shorter amount of time, on average lasting 3 to 7 days, but sometimes as long as 2 weeks. Allergy symptoms will last longer, as allergens tend to be present longer than just a week, especially if you are dealing with seasonal allergies.


Common Cold Symptoms


  • Low fever
  • Sneezing
  • Running or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Hacking cough
  • Muscle pain
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Yellow, green, or thick mucus


Woman Blowing Nose from Common Cold Symptoms


Natural Cold Remedies


Use an Infrared Sauna

Just as using an infrared sauna for allergy relief, it can also help relieve cold symptoms naturally and help speed the rate of recovery. As mentioned before, far infrared heat has been shown to reduce respiratory symptoms often seen in colds. Spending time in an infrared sauna can reduce cold symptoms and can also help detoxify your body to reduce the number of toxins present, thus helping you get well sooner. When suffering from a cold, it is especially important to stay hydrated to replenish any hydration lost from sweating in the sauna.


Steam in a Shower

The steam in a hot shower helps moisturize your nasal passages and aid in decongestion, especially when paired with aromatherapy. Peppermint oil is effective in reducing inflammation to improve quality of life for those suffering from nasal and bronchial allergies, and using eucalyptus oil is great for its antimicrobial properties. A warm shower before bed also helps promote better sleep, which helps speed up recovery.


Get Adequate Sleep and Rest

Getting plenty of rest, relaxation, and sleep (around 8 hours) is critical to your health. Your body is going through a lot, and a tired body means a weakened immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness. A rested body helps your immune system work better. A healthy immune system can help shorten your sick period. Reducing stress will make it easier for your body to function properly and fight illness if need be.


Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking water is always one of the top health recommendations, and it’s especially important when feeling under the weather. When it comes to being sick, hydration is key to improving your overall health and lessening the impact of spring cold symptoms. By staying hydrated, you also allow your body to detoxify impurities that may be exacerbating your symptoms. Try adding electrolytes or vitamins when hydrating to boost the health effects further.


If you are feeling under the weather, take a look at your symptoms as they might help you identify the underlying issue. Be sure to discuss with your doctor if your symptoms are severe, regardless of whether it is a cold or allergies. Plenty of rest, detoxification, hydration, and having a healthy diet can help relieve your symptoms and can help build up your immune system to prevent future colds and allergies.

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