Allergies vs. the Common Cold: What Does Your Child Have?

Allergies vs. the common cold — do you know which one your child is struggling with? 


During late winter and early spring, we see a lot of similar cases: itchy throat, congestion, fatigue and more. 


What surprises many people is that these are all symptoms of two different conditions: allergies and the common cold. Unfortunately, many parents misdiagnose their children and give them the wrong remedies. This can make recovery slower.


This year, avoid the confusion and check out our tips for diagnosing below. 


Understanding the Symptoms

The common cold is a virus. Allergies, on the other hand, are the result of our own immune system attacking simple irritants that it believes are harmful. Common irritants include pet hair, pollen and dust. 


Some symptoms of allergies include coughing, sneezing, fatigue, congestion and a sore throat. Unfortunately, these are all symptoms of the common cold as well. However, don’t dismay, there are a couple of ways you can determine whether allergies are your problem. 

First, it’s very common for your child to have itchy eyes or an itchy mouth when they are suffering from allergies. This is uncommon with a cold. When your child has a cold, they might complain about aches or pains in their body. If this is the case, they likely don’t have allergies. 


A typical cold can be managed right at home with vitamin C, liquids and a lot of rest. However, if you suspect that your child has allergies, you should visit a pediatrician. Allergies can last a long time. Luckily though, your doctor will help you find ways to manage them.  


Track the Duration

Another way you can determine whether your child is suffering from allergies is to notice how long and how often symptoms occur. 


A cold should only last seven to 10 days. If it seems to persist longer than this, your child probably has allergies. There is no time limit for how long allergies last. In fact, as long as the irritant stays in their system, their immune system will continue to fight it. 


Visit your doctor for any cold that seems to last longer than 10 days. 


As your child gets older, it’s also a good idea to track when these symptoms occur. If they commonly appear during the springtime, that’s a good indicator that it’s not a cold. 


Allergies vs. the Common Cold: A Doctor’s Diagnosis

The best way to ensure the healthy recovery and safety of your child is to visit their pediatrician. Here at South Summit Pediatrics, we can help you determine what’s affecting your child and the best ways to combat it. 


Call us to learn more about allergies vs. the common cold and ways that you can remedy them from home.