Recently, I woke up with a stuffy head, congestion, and runny nose. My first thought: I seriously do not have time for this. My second thought: Where did this come from because I felt fine yesterday? If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, take inventory of your symptoms before immediately reaching for cold medicine because allergies could be the cause.
Allergies and common colds have many of the same symptoms, but the causes are different and need to be treated differently. Colds are caused by viruses, which can be airborne or passed by an infected person through handshakes, food sharing, uncovered sneezes and coughs, and similar social gestures. Cold viruses can also live on countertops, computer keyboards, desktops, dishes, and other surfaces. For most healthy people, cold symptoms only last a few days to a couple of weeks. Read more about differences between a common cold and allergy symptoms.