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How To Tell If A Sore Throat Is From An Allergy Or A Cold?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Rakesh Sharma 89% (29 ratings)
DDF, FCCP, MD , MBBS
General Physician, Delhi  •  32 years experience
How To Tell If A Sore Throat Is From An Allergy Or A Cold?

Allergies and the common cold afflict everyone. Every person comes down with either of these or both multiple times a year. Children, adults and the elderly all are equally vulnerable to both these minor ailments. And one of the chief complaints of both is a sore throat. But, how can you tell whether your painful throat is a result of an allergy or a cold? Read on to know more.

How are Allergies and Common Cold Similar?

Sore throat is not the only commonality between cold and allergies. There will be other similar symptoms as well.

• A runny and itchy nose

Coughing

Sneezing

Blocked nose

• Painful sinuses

• Postnasal drip

Conjunctivitis

That is why similar symptoms like sore throat and all the rest make it very hard to tell allergies and a common cold apart.

Can you tell the Difference between Sore throat caused Common Cold or Allergies?

There are a few questions that you will have to ask yourself to find the answer to whether your sore throat is triggered by cold or allergy.

• How did your sore throat manifest itself? Have you been feeling it coming for quite a while now? Maybe, your throat has been feeling itchy for a few days before a full-blown painful throat came along. Or did it start suddenly without a warning? If it is the former, then it is a case of a common cold. But the latter is possibly an effect of allergies.

• If other symptoms are periodic, that is they manifest at certain times of the day like early in the morning or during sunset, your sore throat could be because of allergies. But if the other symptoms last all day, then your sore throat owes its origin to the common cold.

• Are you feverish? Does your thermometer register an above normal body temperature? Then it is a case of a common cold. Allergies do not trigger a fever.

• Have your sore throat and other symptoms started abating in six or seven days? Then it is possibly common cold. The duration of allergies lasts much longer. Or they come and go – depends on the presence of allergens in the air. Treatment for the two kinds of sore throat Common cough and cold have no cure. Your doctor will suggest paracetamol to help manage the symptoms of the common cold and this will bring relief from a sore throat as well. Allergies can be treated with antihistamines. Talk to your doctor who will recommend the necessary medicines.

A sore throat can be a very painful and annoying problem. It could be triggered by both allergies and the common cold. However, there are medicines that can help with both.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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