The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) “estimates that the average healthy adult catches two to three colds per year.” In comparison, allergies occur when your immune system is triggered to react when exposed to certain substances.

So how do you tell, cold or allergy? The DC can help you differentiate: “duration” and “chronicity.” And you thought we meant doctor of chiropractic! Well, a visit to the chiropractor wouldn’t hurt to remove subluxations in your spine and increase well-being, even when you’re run down with allergy- or cold-related sniffles and coughs.

Aside from how long your cold lasts to its frequency, here are ways to separate an onset of the mildly-annoying allergies from a full-blown, sniffle-causing, fever-inducing, muscle-aching cold.

‘Tis the Season – If symptoms have free reign at any time of the year, then allergies are to blame! Colds usually linger in the atmosphere during winter seasons, when viruses rampantly spread in the cooler temperatures. Seasonal allergies typically show up at the same times each year, giving clear indicators of the onset of allergies.

Months vs. Days – Colds wreak havoc in your body for three to 14 days. Allergy symptoms, however, are an unwanted, long-term houseguest, sticking around for weeks or as long as the sufferer is exposed to the pollen, dust mites, animal dander, mold and some foods.

When You’re Under the Weather This Fall: Allergies or a Cold?

Mucus Monsters – Green or yellow mucus discharges signify a cold or infection. When your nasal discharge is clear, seasonal allergies are at play, except in the case of sinus infections. To add to the complexity, Rima Rachid, director of allergen immunotherapy at the Boston Children’s Hospital, says “sometimes allergy sufferers develop sinus infections, which can result in yellow-colored nasal discharge.” Our nose knows!

Oh the Aches and Pains! – Typically, a cold will cause bodily aches and pains, and on top of that, fever. However, allergies give the sufferer a break and do not produce muscle aches.

Allergies are not contagious, but colds are. Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth and wash them frequently to avoid the spread of cold-temps-loving germs. Learn what sets off your allergies and keep a realistically safe distance from these culprits to help prevent the onset of allergy symptoms. Knowing the difference between allergies and a cold will help you get the proper relief quickly.