Why is it important to know if your child is suffering from a cold or has allergies? There is a difference. Knowing your child has a cold means short-term treatment. Allergies are important to identify, not only because treatment differs. Knowing your child has an allergy allows you to help them avoid the catalyst. How do you tell if your child has a cold or allergies? What’s the difference?
1. Is anyone else sick? If your child is sneezing, wheezing and coughing and nobody else around them is sick, allergies are the likely culprit. Colds can cause different symptoms in each person. However, if everyone around your child is healthy and they are miserable, chances are, they have allergies. Especially if this has happened on more than one occasion.
2. Does your child have a fever? If your child has a fever, body aches, chills, or other symptoms associated with a cold or infection, allergies are likely not to blame. Some children may experience allergy symptoms along with a cold. Still, their illness should be treated as if it were a cold. Once the cold has passed, if allergy symptoms continue, it’s a good idea to go for allergy testing.
3. Do the symptoms come and go? A cold stays with you, no matter what your environment. If you notice that your child doesn’t seem as sick indoors as they do outdoors, allergies may be to blame. The same is true if your child sneezes every time Aunt Betsy is around. Maybe they’re allergic to Aunt Betsy’s cologne. Cold symptoms likely stay with your child, irregardless of environment.
4. What makes your child feel better? How do you know if your child has a cold or allergies? What makes them feel better? If they feel better in air conditioned rooms, likely they have allergies. If they feel better before you vacuum than after, once again, this is allergies. On the other hand, if cold medicine is the only thing that makes them feel better, it’s likely a cold.
5. What are the effects of medicines? If your child has allergies, cold medicine may somewhat improve their symptoms, but not take them away altogether. A child with a cold will likely feel better with cold medicines, for a longer period of time than a child with allergies. Over the counter allergy medicines don’t always work for children with severe allergies.
When to see a doctor. If your child is sneezing and sniffling more often than not, see a doctor. Children with severe allergies often need different medications that will work in the long term. Taking over the counter allergy meds does no good for those with major allergic reactions. It can also have serious complications when taken regularly.
Please note: The author is not a licensed medical professional. These observations are based on experience with her own children and grandchildren.