Winter Cold or Winter Allergies? 3 easy ways to tell

Winter Cold or Winter Allergies? 3 easy ways to tell

Mackenzie Thompson

by Mackenzie Thompson

Life Saver, AMC

posted on Jan 22, 2015, at 9:48 pm


IT’S COLD OUTSIDE AND THE HEATER STARTS UP, sending dust, mold and other winter allergens flying into the air you breathe.

Your lingering winter cold that has you feeling off track this season is most likely not the cold you thought it to be. The familiar sniffling and watery eyes everyone seems to be experiencing could actually be winter seasonal allergies. It can be hard to tell, because both present with very similar symptoms to that common cold you’ve been blaming as the source.

woman sneezing into tissue Winter allergies are just as common as spring and summer allergies, but the cold seems to get all the blame. According to a study conducted by the University of Chicago, medical professionals diagnosed mold allergy most frequently in the winter. We are so used to blaming our symptoms on the flu season, that we often forget about the mold and mildew allergies that peak during this time of year. But still, winter colds are very prevalent and must be properly diagnosed and treated. So what do you have? Winter allergies or a seasonal cold?


According to, uncomplicated, typical colds last between 8 and 9 days, but some can last as long as 2 to 3 weeks. Depending on your body’s ability to bounce back, colds and all the symptoms they encompass will certainty subside.

People tend to spend more time indoors in the colder months, which often instigate indoor allergens due to higher exposure. Unlike colds, allergies come and go often, and have no 100% effective treatment. Winter allergies typically last weeks. With less fresh air from outside, every time the heat kicks in, mold, dust, and other allergens recirculate, triggering your symptoms again.

Starting Symptoms:

Colds usually begin slowly with early symptoms like a sore throat, low-grade fever or body aches, and can be prevented through proper hand-washing and avoiding those who already have the cold. Some of the most common symptoms of the cold include coughing, sore throat, and a runny or stuffy nose.

Seasonal allergies, however, never include a fever or aches and pains. The most common symptoms of seasonal allergies are itchy eyes, sneezing and a runny or stuffy nose.


According to the American Lung Association, adults get an average of about 2 to 4 colds per year and younger children typically have 6 to 8. Colds have a definite beginning and end, and should not linger throughout the entire season.

Seasonal allergies usually begin at the onset of the season and end when the seasonal exposures subside, unlike colds, which are viral and can begin at anytime.
We want to know: Do you suffer from seasonal allergies?

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie is a lover of world travel, photography, design, style and Chinese cooking. She is passionate about working towards a purpose, recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Media and Marketing, and is currently residing in Manhattan.

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