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When people have a sore throat, runny nose, and a cough, they may assume they have a cold. In truth, there are a number of other conditions that can have the same symptoms as a cold. If you misdiagnose your symptoms, you are likely to be treating them the wrong way and they can develop into something more severe. This is also important since many people don’t go to see a doctor when they think they just have a cold. Here are 3 other conditions that may seem like a cold but aren’t and how to tell the difference.


Colds and flu can have very similar symptoms, such as a scratchy throat, stuffy nose, and a fever. A cold will generally clear up on its own after a few days, but the flu can actually persist for weeks. If you don’t treat the flu properly, it can also develop into significantly more serious issues like bronchitis or pneumonia. One of the biggest differences between a cold and flu is a fever. While you might run a slight fever with a cold, it will be mild. If your temperature is 101 or above, however, you most likely have the flu.


Allergies are caused by your immune system believing itself to be under attack. It retaliates by releasing chemicals called histamines and are most often treated by taking anti-histamines. If allergies are not treated properly, however, they can develop into bronchitis or even asthma. Allergies are tricky, however, because they can change over time and having one allergy can actually lead you to develop another. Once again, fever makes the biggest difference. With a cold, you will most likely have a slight fever, with allergies you won’t have any. If you do have allergies, you might want to see an allergy asthma specialist to make sure you are treating them properly so they don’t spiral out of control.

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Sinus Infection

If not treated properly, both a cold and allergies can develop into a sinus infection. This is why it is important to determine what you’re are dealing with early on so you can deal with it properly. A sinus infection is caused by bacteria, however, so it needs to be treated differently than a cold or allergies. Two major indicators of a sinus infection are eye pain and tooth pain. If your cold just doesn’t seem to be going away after a few weeks or allergy meds aren’t clearing up your symptoms, you may have a sinus infection.

Small issues can quickly become larger problems if they aren’t treated properly. That’s why it’s important to make sure you know the difference between a cold, flu, allergies and a sinus infection. Make sure you are treating the right problem with the right medications.