Ways to determine if your symptoms are from allergies or a cold

(Western Mass News photo)

Have red itchy eyes and a stuffy nose? It's likely your allergies.

Some schools across western Massachusetts are seeing an increase in student visits to the nurses office because they're feeling a little under the weather.

As with the same symptoms of a cold, allergies can have you feeling rundown and tired.

So with a stuffy nose and a sore throat - which one is it?

With little rain in recent days and the pollen count high, it's been a rough week.

"This time of year, they're thinking they have a cold," said Dr. David Robertson.

However, that might not be the case, so how can you tell if it's allergies or a cold?

"It has more to do with the symptom pattern. I can't look up somebody's nose one time or say this is allergies and this is a cold," Robertson added.

Robertson said that a cold will last you a week or two, but as for allergies, "if the symptoms happen every spring, 'bam' this happens or every time I get around a cat, this happens. The symptom pattern is about matching known exposures," he said.

So what else can you look for?

"They're experiencing the scratchy throat. They're experiencing the stuffy nose, but if they're not running a temperature, they're not achy throughout the body, the sore throat is probably coming from post-nasal drip," said Jonathan Evans with Herbarium in Chicopee.

Schools across the area told Western Mass News that there's been lots of kids heading to the nurses office with red, watery eyes. Some students even had to be sent home.

One school nurse told Western Mass News students who know they have allergies should be taking their medicine before coming to school. They also educate students who may not be sure if they have allergies or are suffering from a cold.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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