Is It Allergies Or a Cold? How to Differentiate Symptoms in Young Children

It’s awful to watch your child feel uncomfortable and sick, especially when you’re not sure of the root cause or how to address it. Trying to differentiate between allergy symptoms and cold symptoms is especially challenging for parents since the signs are so similar.

If your child has been suffering from sneezing, coughing, and congestion, it’s important not to ignore these symptoms and simply hope they go away. Use these tips to gain a better understanding of the real cause of your young child’s illness, and seek help from your pediatrician if needed.

Track the Triggers Of Your Child’s Symptoms

Though the symptoms of allergies and the common cold are similar – runny nose, sneezing, red eyes, lethargy – the triggers of the symptoms will be different. If your child’s symptoms only occur at specific times or in certain places, allergies are most likely to blame.

For instance, if your child’s runny nose only occurs after she has played outside or visited a home with a dog or cat, a pollen or pet allergy could be the cause. Also take note that pollen counts are highest around midday, so if allergies are to blame, your child’s symptoms could worsen between lunch and dinner.

Pay Attention to the Time of Year

The common cold occurs most frequently in the winter, but it’s really a year-round illness. It’s also true that allergies can occur all year round, but they are most common in the spring and fall. Consider the time of year as you try to decode your child’s symptoms, especially if the same symptoms occur at this time year after year.

Is There a Fever Involved?

Fever is one symptom that can help you eliminate allergies as a possibility. A fever usually occurs with an infection, so if your child’s symptoms include a fever, allergies probably aren’t to blame. Some infections can heal with time and rest, but others need the attention of a pediatrician.

Whether you suspect that your child has allergies or a cold, make an appointment with Dr. Stephen Nelson in St. Petersburg to get started with the best treatment. Dr. Nelson might recommend that your child undergo allergy testing to determine the exact cause your child’s symptoms. Call (727) 525-2161 to schedule an appointment now.