Cold, flu or allergies: Which do you have?


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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – You’re coughing and sneezing and you have body aches. Simply put, you’re miserable.

It’s the flu season, the cold season and allergies are still in the air, so which do you have?  And what do you do about it?

WHNT News 19 spoke with Registered Nurse Claudia Acreman to help you find out.

The flu

“They all kinda bleed in with each other, but flu symptoms are usually you get a fever, you get really bad really quickly. You deteriorate within a couple of hours, you may not have any symptoms, you may go to bed with no symptoms and wake up really sick,” said Acreman.

Acreman says a high fever, especially above 100 often signifies the flu.

Common cold

Symptoms of the common cold are similar, just less severe.

“You start out with nasal congestion, a little scratchy, sore throat and you feel run down,” said Acreman.

Acreman says congestion is the biggest signifier of a cold.


Your symptoms could also be from allergies.

“Allergies in this region are really bad, it’s ongoing all through the year,” said Acreman.

Allergy symptoms include itchy, watery eyes and a scratchy, sore throat.

Since the symptoms are so similar, Acreman says a lot of people self-diagnose, which is a huge mistake.

“You are risking the health of other people.  You can spread it easily,” said Acreman.

You’re also risking your own health because if you don’t know exactly what you have you won’t be able to take the proper medicine, which can make your illness worse.

“If you do have symptoms go be seen by a doctor.  If you feel you’re getting sicker, be seen.  Get tested,” said Acreman.

Acreman adds a quick trip to the doctor to properly diagnose your symptoms will usually only take 15-20 minutes but can cut your healing time in half, and stop the spread of whatever illness you may have.