How do you tell the difference between an allergy and an infection?

How do you tell the difference between an allergy and an infection?
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Spring is a very difficult time for allergy sufferers. They have to be patient. The symptoms that cause allergies are very similar to those of upper respiratory infections and many other infections. So how can you tell the difference between a simple infection and an allergic reaction?


Allergy is a reaction of the body, or rather our immune system, to a specific external factor. To protect ourselves against it, we produce antibodies that fight the substance. After exposure to an allergen, antibodies circulate in our blood. These antibodies are there to fight the next potential contact with the substance

When contact with the allergen occurs again, the body fights back. Unfortunately, this damages the membrane in our cells. When this happens, we produce histamine, among other things. Our body becomes inflamed, causing us to experience symptoms similar to those of a cold, which also involves coughing or an irritated throat

Genetic predisposition, the environment in which we live and our general way of functioning are considered to be the main factors causing allergies in a particular person. Interestingly, excessive hygiene is also recognized as one of the causes of allergies. Desensitization therapy, steroid drugs or antihistamines are used to treat allergies


An infection occurs when a virus or bacteria attacks us. We can become infected through direct contact with an already infected person or simply by breathing in the agent that is in the air

Viruses and bacteria cause almost identical symptoms to those of an allergy. Watery eyes, general weakness and breakdown, runny nose and cough are a few basic complaints that accompany infections. We are particularly vulnerable to viral infections during the winter and autumn seasons. Unlike allergies, however, symptoms here usually last only a few days

The remedy is anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic or tablets to relieve persistent sore throat. At the pharmacy, the pharmacist will recommend us many remedies, which manufacturers are constantly improving, because infections are a common problem. In the case of a cold, the source of which is a bacterium and not a virus, we should go to the doctor to introduce antibiotic therapy

>> See also: Do allergies need to be treated?

How do I distinguish between an allergy and an infection?

In order to distinguish properly between an allergy and an infection, it is necessary, first of all, to analyse whether we have had similar symptoms at the same time of year in earlier years

The recurrence of symptoms is one answer to the question of whether it is definitely an allergy. If you have always had a bad cough or watery eyes during the spring season, this is a sure sign that you are allergic

It is then worth performing allergy tests to determine exactly what is causing your allergy. If you are experiencing symptoms for the first time, especially if they are severe, it is a sign that your body is infected. In such cases, it is necessary to visit a doctor, who will make the appropriate diagnosis

It is also worth analyzing the very symptoms of allergies and infections that we observe in ourselves. A cough, if it is dry and choking, usually indicates an allergy. A wet cough, on the other hand, indicates that the body is infected. In an ordinary infection, a runny nose disappears after a few days. Allergic catarrh, on the other hand, persists for a long time, is much more troublesome and is accompanied, among other things, by itching of the nose and eyes

Infections usually last up to two weeks. Allergies, on the other hand, will last as long as we are exposed to the allergen on our body. Temperature is a symptom worth noting. This is especially true if you are unsure whether you have an infection or an allergy. In the case of an infection, a fever is a signal that is present at all times. Allergic reactions are unlikely to cause a significant increase in body temperature

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