9 doctors weighed in:

What is the difference between hay fever and a cold?

9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Colin Kerr
Family Medicine
6 doctors agree

In brief: Hay fever vs cold

From a practical perspective, the symptoms of both of these disorders are the same--runny nose and sneezing, perhaps also with itching, running eyes.
The difference is that a cold will only last 3-4 days usually, while allergy symptoms tend to be chronic (eg., last all spring). So if your cold symtpoms don't quit after a week, you probably have allergies.

In brief: Hay fever vs cold

From a practical perspective, the symptoms of both of these disorders are the same--runny nose and sneezing, perhaps also with itching, running eyes.
The difference is that a cold will only last 3-4 days usually, while allergy symptoms tend to be chronic (eg., last all spring). So if your cold symtpoms don't quit after a week, you probably have allergies.
Dr. Colin Kerr
Dr. Colin Kerr
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1 comment
Dr. Brian Novick
you also won't get a fever with hay fever...the term comes from many years ago when people had symptoms from ragweed during the hay "cutting" season and felt very warm....
Dr. Lee Perry
Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Allergy vs infection

Hay fever is another term for allergic rhinitis, which is characterized by seasonal increases in allergy symptoms (runny nose, sneeze, congestion) due to pollen levels (weed pollen in the fall, tree pollen in the spring).
A "cold" is an infection caused by a virus. A cold will usually resolve after 7-10 days, while hay fever may last an entire season.

In brief: Allergy vs infection

Hay fever is another term for allergic rhinitis, which is characterized by seasonal increases in allergy symptoms (runny nose, sneeze, congestion) due to pollen levels (weed pollen in the fall, tree pollen in the spring).
A "cold" is an infection caused by a virus. A cold will usually resolve after 7-10 days, while hay fever may last an entire season.
Dr. Lee Perry
Dr. Lee Perry
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