Diagnosing Cold & Allergy symptoms

You don’t need to see your doctor for a cold, but if you do make an appointment, your symptoms will likely be enough for them to confirm your diagnosis. If your doctor thinks you might have a bacterial infection such as strep throat or pneumonia, you might need other tests such as a throat culture or chest X-ray.

Diagnosing Cold & Allergy symptoms-2
Diagnosing Cold & Allergy symptoms

For allergies, you may need to see a primary care doctor, an ear-nose-throat (ENT) doctor, or an allergist. The doctor will first ask about your symptoms. Severe or life-threatening allergic reactions often require the care of an allergy specialist.
A variety of tests can be used to diagnose allergies. A skin test can be used to determine your allergy triggers. Sometimes primary doctors or allergy specialists may also use blood tests to diagnose allergies depending on your age and other health conditions.

Treating the common cold

Your body will get rid of the cold virus over time. Since antibiotics only kill bacteria, they won’t work on the viruses that cause colds. Still, there are medications that can help relieve your symptoms while a cold runs its course.

What is the best medicine for cold?

Cold remedies include:

cough syrups and over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications
decongestant nasal sprays
pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Cough syrups and OTC medications aren’t recommended for children under 4 years old, while nasal sprays aren’t recommended for children under age 6.

Ask your doctor before taking any OTC cold medication, especially if you also take prescription medications, have any existing health conditions, or are pregnant.

Don’t use cold medications for a long period of time. Using them for extended periods can cause side effects such as rebound congestion.

Diagnosing Cold & Allergy symptoms
Diagnosing Cold & Allergy symptoms

You can also try home treatments to relieve a cold, such as:

1.  drinking more fluids like water, juice, and herbal tea
2. avoiding caffeine
3. using saline nasal sprays
4. using nasal rinses, like a neti pot
5. gargling with salt water
6. getting a cool-mist humidifier

What is the best medicine for allergies?

One very effective way to prevent allergy symptoms is to avoid your triggers. If you can’t avoid your triggers, you can take medications to relieve your symptoms.

Diagnosing Cold & Allergy symptoms-1
Diagnosing Cold & Allergy symptoms

Treating allergies. Antihistamines

Antihistamines work by blocking the release of histamine. Examples include:

fexofenadine (Allegra)
diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
cetirizine (Zyrtec)

Be aware that some older antihistamines can cause drowsiness. Either look for a nondrowsy formula or consider taking these medicines at night.


Decongestants work by shrinking swollen nasal membranes to relieve sinus congestion. They’re sold under names such as:

pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)
guaifenesin-pseudoephedrine (Mucinex DM)
loratadine-pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D)

Note. Decongestants come in pills and nasal sprays. However, nasal decongestants such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) can make your congestion worse if you use them for more than three days in a row.

Nasal corticosteroids

Nasal corticosteroids bring down swelling in the nose by blocking inflammation. They also lower the number of allergy-activated immune cells in the nasal passages.

These medications continue to be one of the best ways of controlling and treating both seasonal and year-round allergies.

Eye drops

Eye drops can relieve itchiness and watering.

Allergy shots

Allergy shots gradually expose you to small amounts of the allergen. This exposure helps to desensitize your body to the substance. These can be a very effective long-term solution for eliminating allergies.

Other treatments

As with cold symptoms, saline sprays and humidifiers can help relieve certain allergy symptoms.

Take care of yourself and your family.

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