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Sore Throat from Cold or Allergies: How to Know the Difference

sore throat from cold or allergies

A chronic sore throat is a dry, painful, and itchy throat condition. Dry air, allergies, flu, cold, and other respiratory infections can make your throat sore. However, knowing the root cause of your sore throat will help you receive the right treatment.

Read more to learn how to determine whether a sore throat is due to allergies or cold.

Allergy Vs. Cold

Allergies are very common, as over 50 million people in the United States suffer from some type of allergy.

Usually, allergy symptoms include congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, and coughing. If you have an allergy-induced sore throat, you will experience the feeling of scratchiness caused by postnasal drainage or by particles directly entering the respiratory system.

However, if you have a sore throat accompanied by fever and body ache, you are most likely suffering from a viral infection, such as a cold or flu.

Sore Throat Symptoms

Although some symptoms of sore throat caused by allergies and cold are similar, a few symptoms can be different.

Symptoms of sore throat caused by cold include:

  • Fever
  • Muscle and body ache
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck region

Symptoms of sore throat caused by allergies include:

  • Itchy and watery eyes

How Long Does Sore Throat Last?

How long you have been affected is another way to determine if the cause of sore throat is an allergy or cold. A sore throat caused by common cold does not last more than two weeks. However, a sore throat caused by allergies can last for as long as you are exposed to the allergen. If you have hay fever, allergy symptoms can last for six weeks during pollen seasons, and you may develop oral allergy syndrome after eating certain foods.

Oral allergy syndrome can cause:

  • General hay fever symptoms
  • An itchy mouth
  • Redness and swelling of the mouth and lips
  • A scratchy, irritated throat

What Are the Symptoms of a Sore Throat?

The common symptoms of a sore throat include:

  • Sneezing
  • Body aches
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Hoarse voice
  • Nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chills
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Swollen glands in the neck

Do Allergies Cause Sore Throat?

Usually, allergies from pollen, pet dander, cigarette smoke, mold or mildew, and dust mites can result in a sore throat. Allergy symptoms include coughing, itchy eyes, congestion, and sneezing. Your symptoms can worsen during seasons when there is a higher amount of airborne irritants caused by pollinating trees and flowers.

How Can You Know If Your Sore Throat Is Allergies?

Postnasal drip and scratchiness are the main symptoms of an allergy-induced sore throat. Postnasal drip results from exposure to the allergen and occurs when a blockage in the sinuses drains down the throat. This can cause a scratchy feeling when particles directly enter the respiratory system and may result in:

  • Throat irritation
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Excessive swallowing

Call us today for booking an appointment with one of our specialists to learn more about different types of allergies and their treatment.