Stuffy Nose from Allergies or a Cold? Here’s How to Get Relief

How to Get Relief From Allergies or a Cold

Have you ever had the classic internal debate “is this is just allergies or am I getting a cold?”

Turns out, there are a few key differences to help you figure it out.

Allergies in Houston

Do You Have Allergies or a Cold

A cold is caused by a viral infection. In order to protect you from the virus, your body’s immune system releases white blood cells.

This causes an increase in mucous production and leads to your nose and throat becoming inflamed. You will become tired because your body is using up a lot of energy fighting the virus.

Allergies are different. An allergic reaction is caused by your body mistaking a harmless substance (such as pollen) for something dangerous and attacking it. The sneezing and coughing you experience with allergies are caused by your body trying to fight off the allergen.

Colds are contagious and usually last for three to 14 days. They come with a cough, sore throat and a runny nose. Often they are accompanied by aches and fatigue. Itchy, watery eyes and a fever rarely occur.

Allergies are not contagious and can last as long as you are in contact with what you are allergic to. Itchy, watery red eyes and a runny or stuffy nose are common with allergies. Usually, these symptoms are accompanied by a cough, fatigue and a sore throat. The main difference between allergy symptoms and cold symptoms is that allergies never come with aches or a fever.

Simple Ways To Relieve Congestion

As you can see, while they are caused by different things a lot of the symptoms are the same. A stuffy nose can throw your entire day off balance. Your voice becomes distorted and breathing is a struggle. Nasal congestion is one of the most common side effects of allergies and the common cold, so many people experience these symptoms numerous times a year.

Contrary to popular belief, congestion isn’t caused by an excessive build-up of mucous in your nasal passage. In fact, it actually occurs when the blood vessels in your nasal tissue become swollen due to excess fluid. If you’re experiencing nasal congestion, here are some simple ways to get relief:

  • Steam. There are many ways to use steam to clear your nasal passages. Taking a hot shower or placing your head above a steaming pot of water are two simple and effective methods. Steam helps to reduce inflammation, allowing your breathing to normalize. When using this method, be sure the water is not hot enough to harm you. Also be aware that this method, though effective, may not provide long-lasting relief.
  • Saline spray. A salt-water solution can be dispersed into your nasal passages to help moisturize the area draw out fluid. This will help to reduce the swelling in your blood vessels and allow you to breath easily. Saline solutions can be bought in stores or made at home using distilled water.
  • Hydrate. Keeping your body adequately hydrated will allow you to thin out the mucus in your nasal passages and reduce inflammation. When experiencing a stuffy nose, keep a water bottle, sports drink or tea on hand to keep your fluid intake high.
  • Consult an allergy doctor. If you suspect your symptoms may be allergy-related, an allergist can help you find solutions to manage your condition. While over-the-counter medications may provide temporary relief, they should not be used daily. Allergy doctors can perform allergy testing and find effective ways of reducing or even curing your allergies.


To find an allergy clinic in Houston, or to learn more about allergy testing procedures, contact our team to at 713-328-0828.

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