Sniffing and Sneezing in the Winter: Do I Have a Cold, or Allergies?

woman in the snow, winter

When the winter months roll in, most people attribute sniffing, sneezing, and coughing to the common cold. After all, the winter means we get a break from allergies, right?

While the cold months give you relief from the allergens outside, the allergens inside could be eliciting the same response you have during the spring. More time spent inside means an increased exposure to common household allergens like mold, dust, and pet dander.

Is it allergies or a cold?

So, how do you tell if it’s allergies or a cold? Both share similar symptoms, like coughing, runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes, but the difference is the duration and severity. A cold typically runs its course in under 10 days, while allergies can be continuous. Not to mention, a viral illness like the common cold usually comes with more physical symptoms, like fever, aches, malaise, and chills. An allergic response to household elements can certainly disrupt daily life, but won’t illicit the run-down feeling you get with a cold.

What can you do to minimize indoor allergies? Here are a few small steps that have a big impact:

  1. Vacuum frequently, especially carpeted areas and upholstered furniture.

  2. Wash bedding and linens in hot water to eliminate dust mites.

  3. Consider investing in a HEPA air filter, especially for rooms you spend considerable time, like your bedroom.

The Plymouth Ear, Nose and Throat team is here to help alleviate your allergies, regardless of the season. Please call us at 508-746-8977 to schedule an appointment today!