If you’re sneezing, with a runny nose and a sore throat, you’ll likely chalk it up to allergies. If it’s flu season, though, you may begin to wonder if it could be the flu. Do allergy symptoms and flu symptoms overlap? Yes, but each condition has symptoms the other doesn’t have. Here’s how to tell the difference.
The symptoms that allergies and the flu share are primarily upper respiratory symptoms. Sneezing, coughing, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, headache, and fatigue can all occur whether you have the flu or you’re suffering from an allergic reaction. To know absolutely which condition you have, you should seek the care of a doctor. However, paying attention to the following symptoms can give you a hint:
- Fever: While not everyone runs a fever with the flu, some people do. Allergies generally do not cause a fever.
- Itching: Itchiness or itchy, watery eyes are a symptom of allergies, but not the flu.
- Body aches: Sometimes the inflammation that comes with allergies can lead to aches, but body aches are much more common with the flu.
It matters which condition you have, because they’re very different and are treated differently. The flu, or influenza, is contagious and caused by viruses. These viruses are most commonly spread through airborne droplets after someone with the flue sneezes, coughs, or talks. You can also catch the flu by touching a contaminated surface and then your nose, mouth, or eyes. Allergy symptoms are not contagious because they are caused by your body’s own immune system. When the immune system mistakenly identifies something as harmful, it attempts to fight it, and that’s an allergic reaction.
So, what are the treatment options for allergies and the flu? Allergy treatments include antihistamines, steroids, decongestants, and avoiding allergens. Flu treatment primarily treats the symptoms of flu, though an antiviral medication taken at the onset of the flu can reduce the severity and duration of the illness. The best way to avoid getting the flu is to get the annual flu vaccine, either at your primary care physician’s office or an urgent care clinic.
Whether you are suffering from allergies or the flu, Total Point Urgent Care is here to help. The goal of Total Point Urgent Care is to be a convenient healthcare resource for our community. Providing immediate medical care at a fraction of the cost of an emergency room, our neighborhood clinics offer warm, efficient, personalized care. At our locations in Texas and Arizona, our on-site technology and services include urgent care, primary care, specialty care, routine checkups, flu shots and other vaccinations, COVID-19 testing, and onsite lab and x rays. We see urgent care walk-ins and soon, we’ll even offer virtual visits so that our patients can choose telecare instead of risking a trip to the clinic. For convenient medical care, visit one of our locations or contact us through our website.