3 doctors weighed in:
How can I tell if I have a cold, flu, or am suffering from seasonal allergies?
3 doctors weighed in

Dr. Jack Mutnick
Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology
In brief: Length
How long have you felt "under the weather?" if only sick a couple of days or up to a week, it could be a cold (less likely the flu).
The flu has many symptoms and usually includes a fever, chills, muscle aches, etc.. (very sick). Allergies are a constant or if they never go away or return the same time every year.

In brief: Length
How long have you felt "under the weather?" if only sick a couple of days or up to a week, it could be a cold (less likely the flu).
The flu has many symptoms and usually includes a fever, chills, muscle aches, etc.. (very sick). Allergies are a constant or if they never go away or return the same time every year.
Dr. Jack Mutnick
Dr. Jack Mutnick
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Dr. Michael Klein
Family Medicine
In brief: Timing and degree
Sometimes it is hard to tell.
To briefly summarize i will describe the general symptoms of each flu: the most obvious- very sudden onset high fevers, severely ill, severe muscle aches, sweats, lasts 1-2 weeks- will almost always need to miss work cold: stuffy nose, thicker mucous, cough , sore throat , faily sudden onset. Allergies: slower onset, runny mucous, itchy nose, itchy eyes, dry cough.

In brief: Timing and degree
Sometimes it is hard to tell.
To briefly summarize i will describe the general symptoms of each flu: the most obvious- very sudden onset high fevers, severely ill, severe muscle aches, sweats, lasts 1-2 weeks- will almost always need to miss work cold: stuffy nose, thicker mucous, cough , sore throat , faily sudden onset. Allergies: slower onset, runny mucous, itchy nose, itchy eyes, dry cough.
Dr. Michael Klein
Dr. Michael Klein
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Dr. Patrick Melder
ENT - Head & Neck Surgery
In brief: Depends on symptoms
Cold and flu symptoms will usually have systemic symptoms like fever, chills, muscle pain.
A "cold" that lasts for more than a week is probably a sinus infection. Seasonal allergies are usually "seasonal" and symptoms include watery, itchy eyes, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, and sometimes a sore throat.

In brief: Depends on symptoms
Cold and flu symptoms will usually have systemic symptoms like fever, chills, muscle pain.
A "cold" that lasts for more than a week is probably a sinus infection. Seasonal allergies are usually "seasonal" and symptoms include watery, itchy eyes, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, and sometimes a sore throat.
Dr. Patrick Melder
Dr. Patrick Melder
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