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Telling the Difference Between an Allergy and a Virus


A child's signs of poor health can lead to sleepless nights for parents. Confusion over the symptoms make the situation even more difficult.


For example, it's hard to tell whether kids are dealing with allergy or illness. Proper diagnosis leads to proper treatment. Read on to learn how to distinguish between them.


Common Allergy Symptoms


Children may exhibit an allergic response after exposure to particles like grass, dust, pet dander, mold spores, and pollen. The immune system overreacts and causes the following symptoms:


- Runny nose

- Sneezing

- Watery eyes

- Coughing

- Sore throat


Common Cold Symptoms


The common cold is a viral infection that often spreads through direct contact with a sick person. A child may also get the virus through airborne droplets or contaminated surfaces. The symptoms include:


- Runny nose

- Coughing

- Sneezing

- Sore Throat

- Fatigue

- Body Aches

- Fever


How to Tell Whether It's an Allergy or an Illness


1. Children under 1 year of age are probably dealing with a cold. It is rare for an infant to have seasonal allergies. Kids usually develop these later.


2. Fever is a big clue that you are dealing with a viral infection. Children don't experience elevated temperatures due to allergies.


3. Monitor the child for signs of fatigue. Allergy doesn't interfere with regular function, whereas illness can leave a toddler feeling wiped out.


4. Observe the duration of the symptoms. If it's an allergy, then things won't get better for as long as exposure continues. Common cold subsides in two weeks.


5. For children older than 1 year, ask a doctor about the use of antihistamine. If it doesn't stop the symptoms within 2 days, then it's probably a cold.


If you suspect that a child is ill based on the symptoms, then consult a pediatric doctor immediately. This may be a cold or some other viral infection that needs medical attention.


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