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tan253's avatar

Can allergies make you feel like you have a bad cold?

Asked by tan253 (2312points) September 13th, 2017

Hi All!
Guess what, two days no eye twitch! – Yay, but now I think I’ve got another cold on top of the flu, and for me that’s pretty much ruining me.
I’m wondering however if maybe it’s allergies?
I’ve got a blocked, congested nose, sore eyes, sneezing lots, my eyes feel red and itchy but they don’t look red. I’m tired and have a croaky voice and a scratchy red throat. I feel pretty miserable, to be honest, but I thought allergies just gave you symptoms without actually making you feel sick. Can allergies actually make you feel miserable and how would you know the difference?!

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17 Answers

tan253's avatar

I should state that I do get allergies, I just don’t normally get them this bad. But I’ve been pretty run down, Dr was no use, she said could be a cold, could be allergies. Either way, nothing you can do but control symptoms. – awesome.

Soubresaut's avatar

Because you say your eyes feel itchy, I’d say it’s probably allergies, but that’s just my experience. When my seasonal allergies get really bad, they feel like a head cold plus itchy eyes. (I just recently conceded that my previous allergy meds were no longer working and switched to a different drug; it’s a world of a difference for me!... but that’s another story altogether.) But again, that’s just me.

Do you have allergies that you know of? Have you had allergies like this before?

tan253's avatar

I’ve only lived in this new area for 3 years and each change of season I’m at the Dr’s with congestion and thinking i have a sinus infection – almost like clock work, so I’m thinking maybe it is allergies – but are they suppose to make you feel ‘sick’ – I’m tired and over it to be honest and I have tried some anti histamines but not much changes.

tan253's avatar

could be a cold AND allergies! I wish there was a definitive test.

Soubresaut's avatar

From my own experience, allergies can make you feel like you’re sick (tired and miserable). Personally, I only feel itchiness when I have allergies, so when I feel itchiness on top of those other symptoms I know straightaway I’m having bad allergies. If you know that you get to feeling this way and having sinus infections at the same time every year, I’d agree with your guess that it’s seasonal allergies.

I’ve never had one, so I don’t know the specifics, but you can get an allergy test to see what specifically you might be allergic to.

From my own understanding, not all antihistamines work as effectively for everyone. I used to knock out all of my symptoms with a certain antihistamine. I’ve used it since I was ten for pollen and cat allergies, but over time it’s stopped being as effective. After going through some experimentation with other antihistamines, I finally found one that works for me again, and it’s a world of difference for me. I can walk past grasses once again without feeling on edge or needing a box of tissues in tow. (I also found two more antihistamines that don’t work for me—on top of one I already knew from years ago— but they work for members of my family.)

So, I’ve got one drug that works for me right now, one that used to work but no longer does, and three that I know don’t help me—and that’s just within the over-the-counter non-drowsy options.

Again, just my experience. I don’t know how many antihistamines you’ve tried. And I’m certainly not any sort of doctor or knowledgeable expert on this. I’m just speaking from my own experience.

tan253's avatar

thanks for taking the time to answer ,I know you’re not a Dr, just looking for other people’s experiences more than anything, thing for me is that it’s constant, I don’t ‘walk’ past something and fear the sneezing etc, I just have it all the time – I’m definitely allergic to DUST which is just ridiculous! So when I clean I get really stuffy etc and congested. Will try Loratadine tomorrow and see if that helps. Taking Otrivin Plus – given to me by Dr and that’s great for congestion but I can only use it for 3 days!

Soubresaut's avatar

I know you know I’m not! I just wanted to reiterate since this is an open forum :) ... Sorry I wasn’t clearer about that! And the walking-past-grass fear was definitely all about me! Aha. Dust allergy, egah!

Good luck!

Patty_Melt's avatar

Be careful with the antihistimines!
I get allergies often and sometimes pretty rough.
Several years ago I was at work and suddenly my head hurt in an indescribable way.
It is not an exaggeration to say it felt like my skull was actually cracking, and dividing. It was sudden, and so awful, everyone in the room instantly knew something was very wrong.
They called for an ambulance.
At the ER, I was probed, leaked, and otherwise inspected. I was told the antihistimines prevented my sinuses from draining. He said they wete packed with thick, drying stuff, and split the membranes, got infected, and if I had waited longer to come in, in only a few hours the infection woild have been causing brain damage.
He told me to use a nasal saline, and keep rinsed out.
It is definately better that way.

I’m not saying don’t take them, but don’t take them as much as the directions say you can. Try to rinse more than medicate.

The more crud you get rid of, the better you will feel.

tan253's avatar

oh my lord, that’s awful – you were so lucky! That’s scared me!!

Patty_Melt's avatar

I just want people to be aware that antihistamines have worse effects than just the jitters.
So, please be careful.

jca's avatar

Allergies can have the same symptoms as a cold. If you have it for a few weeks, chances are it’s allergies. (I’m not a doctor either, never have been, never will be).

canidmajor's avatar

I’m with @Patty_Melt in the “crud removal” camp. As I get older, I seem to have developed some allergies, which are fortunately well dealt with by flushing out the nasal passages with saline spray, gargling with hot, salt water and warm, saline eyewash. For the throat I also drink hot lemonade with lots of honey (a natural antibiotic), to ease up the pain.
Judicious use of ibuprofen or another NSAID may help reduce swelling and inflammation.
All the above suggestions were endorsed by my physician.

I hope you feel better soon, whether allergies or a cold, it’s all miserable. Poor Sweetie!

JLeslie's avatar

If it lasts a week it was a cold.

Itchy eyes usually indicates allergy, but if you’re unsure wash your hands a lot the first few days to spare the people around you in case it is contagious.

You can treat both with antihistamine and decongestant when you need a break from the congestion (assuming both are safe for you, check the warning label). Ibuprofen can also help you feel better if you want relief from any overall body just doesn’t feel right feeling related to muscles.

If it lasts more than 8 days start considering what you might be allergic to, maybe you can eliminate or reduce the source. If it is an allergy you can also consider the daily drugs for that sort of thing. One med that comes to mind is Claritin, but I don’t know much about those medications, there are other choices I would think. Thats something you could ask your pharmacist/chemist.

BellaB's avatar

Out of control allergies feel much worse than a cold. The only real way I can tell the difference in early stages is if something is itchy – eyes/ears/throat/hands/heat/roof of mouth etc. If I think it’s like a cold but something itches – it’s allergies.

Finding the right antihistamine can be tricky. I have one for whacking the symptoms down and one to keep the symptoms at bay once things are under control.

Using saline spray/rinses regularly can make a difference for both cold and allergy prevention.

tan253's avatar

yeah I had itchy throat, itchy eyes, itchy roof of my mouth, and then sneezing like 3 or times in a row which I never do, even when I know I’ve got allergies – dust etc I don’t really sneeze but this definitely feels like allergies but I think also a cold?
Anyway Day 5 starting to feel slightly less congested…. so I guess moral of the story is – you just never know what it is. A bit scared of antihistamines now so wont take them!

Patty_Melt's avatar

You can still take antihistamines, I do. It is just best to not rely on them.
I stick with flushing for congestion, but if itching becomes an issue, i will take a pill.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I observe others acting like they have a cold but claim it’s allergy. I don’t suffer from allergies myself.

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