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Determining whether your symptoms are due to allergies or a common cold can be tricky, as they often overlap. However, distinguishing between the two is crucial for effective treatment. Cermak Immediate Care provides insights into key differences and treatment options, including sore throat management.

Common Symptoms of Allergies and Colds


  • Nasal Symptoms: Sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, but with clear, thin discharge
  • Eyes: Itchy, watery, and often red eyes
  • Duration: Can last as long as you are exposed to the allergen
  • Onset: Symptoms appear immediately after exposure to allergens like pollen, pet dander, or dust


  • Nasal Symptoms: Sneezing, stuffy nose with thick, discolored mucus
  • Eyes: Rarely involved
  • Duration: Usually lasts from a few days to a week
  • Onset: Symptoms gradually begin one to three days after being infected with a viral pathogen

Key Differences

  1. Duration and Timing: Allergy symptoms persist as long as you are exposed to the allergen and can occur seasonally (such as during spring for pollen allergies) or year-round if triggered by things like dust or pets. Cold symptoms typically resolve within a week to ten days.
  2. Type of Discharge: Nasal discharge from allergies is usually clear and watery, whereas a cold often produces thick, yellow, or green mucus.
  3. Presence of Itchiness: Itchy eyes, ears, and throat are hallmark signs of allergies but are not typical symptoms of a cold.
  4. Fever: Colds may be accompanied by a fever, but allergies do not cause an increase in body temperature.

When to Seek Medical Attention for Allergy/Cold Symptoms

If you experience persistent or severe symptoms that do not improve with over-the-counter medications, or if you have a sore throat that lasts more than a few days, it’s important to seek professional medical advice. A sore throat can be a symptom of either a cold or allergies, and in some cases, it may require treatment beyond home remedies.

Treatment at Cermak Immediate Care Near Chicago

At Cermak Immediate Care, we provide treatments tailored to whether you’re suffering from allergies or a cold:

  • Allergies: Antihistamines, nasal sprays, and eye drops to reduce allergic reactions and relieve symptoms.
  • Colds: Pain relievers, decongestants, and increased fluid intake to manage symptoms and support recovery.
  • Sore Throat: Depending on the cause, treatments may include lozenges, soothing gargles, antibiotics (if a bacterial infection is suspected), or other specific medications.

Preventative Measures

Understanding your triggers and managing exposure can significantly help control allergy symptoms. Regular hand washing and avoiding close contact with people who are sick can also reduce your risk of catching a cold.

By understanding the differences between allergies and a cold, you can better manage your symptoms and seek appropriate treatment. If you’re unsure about your symptoms or if they worsen, Cermak Immediate Care is here to help. Our team is committed to providing you with personalized care to ensure a speedy recovery from sore throats, colds, and allergies.

Posted on behalf of Cermak Immediate Care

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Convenient Locations and Accessibility

Located near major expressways and well-connected by public transport, our clinics in Cicero, Chicago, Roseland, Hoffman Estates, and Rolling Meadows are easily accessible. We cater to the needs of our community by offering flexible visiting hours, including walk-in options and the ability to schedule appointments online or by phone. This ensures that you can receive care when it suits you best.


Cermak Immediate Care

5741 W Cermak Rd
Cicero IL 60804


Cermak Immediate Care

2408 W Cermak Rd
Chicago IL 60608


Cermak Immediate Care

134 W 111th St Floor 2
Chicago IL 60628

Hoffman Estates

Rapid Immediate Care

925 N Roselle Rd
Hoffman Estates IL 60169

Rolling Meadows

NewMed Immediate Care

1669 W. Algonquin Rd
Rolling Meadows IL 60008