How Do I Know if My Child Has a Cold or Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)
Colds are infections of the upper respiratory tract (sinuses, nasal passages, throat, and larynx). They are caused by several different viruses and are spread by touching a person with a cold, or touching object that someone with a cold has touched, or by breathing the virus in the air after someone with a cold has coughed or sneezed into the air.
Seasonal allergies (hay fever) are caused by the immune system reacting to pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds as if they were harmful to the body. This reaction causes symptoms that can be similar to a cold. Allergies often run in families. Seasonal allergies occur at the same time each year. If your child has allergy symptoms all year long, he or she may be allergic to thinks in the home, such as dust mites, animals, mold, and cockroaches.
The following table is a guide. See your child’s healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Stuffy or runny nose
Sore scratchy throat
Red or itchy eyes
Often, especially at the start of a cold
Weakness and fatigue
Recur at a certain time of year
Need for antibiotics
Symptoms occur after exposure to allergen
Gets worse over several days
How long it lasts
As long as your child is exposed to the allergen
Usually three to 14 days
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