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How To Distinguish Between Flu and Allergy Symptoms

Updated on December 8, 2014

Snot and sneezing. Is it because of flu or allergic reactions?

Flu or allergy?
Flu or allergy? | Source

Flu is a common disease that affects many people. Usually, many people having influenza during winter or rainy season where the temperature drops and the weather become cold. But, flu can strike at any time. Flu is a respiratory disease that caused by a virus that can be transmitted easily from one to another. Besides flu, respiratory symptoms can be result from a reaction due to allergies. Allergy that attacked regions of the nose (related to nasal and respiratory) usually have symptoms similar as flu. I usually get allergy that associated with the nasal area, and when I get an allergy, the reactions that usually occur are sneezing constantly and snot out endlessly. The allergy that I suffered usually is because having contact with dust or other smooths particles such as substance that comes out from a spray made ​​from chemicals. Allergies are also commonly strikes during spring to summer seasons, and usually when the weather is windy, because many particles of pollens and seeds are carried by the wind. Allergies that caused by pollen of flowers are usually known as hay fever or "pollinosis". According to Wikipedia, allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. Unlike flu, allergies are not contagious and not everyone has the allergy reaction regarding the nasal and respiratory areas.

So, how can we recognize and distinguish between flu and allergy symptoms? Several types of symptoms below perhaps can help you to distinguish the difference between flu and allergy symptoms which I gather from various sources. Hopefully this could be useful for you.

Some allergic reaction
Some allergic reaction | Source


Sneezes are a common symptom in flu or allergy that attacks the nasal area and respiratory system. When flu, sneeze usually happens only a few times in a certain time interval and happens when our nose start clogged, while sneezes as an allergic reaction that usually occurs after our respiratory system having contact with allergens. The sneeze as an allergic reaction typically occurs continuously when the respiratory system continues to produce snot as a result of the allergy.


Flu is usually accompanied by fever as one of the flu symptoms but it is not the case with allergies. Some allergic reaction can cause fever but some are not. For example if you are allergic to certain flower seeds or kind of foods, your skin will swell. The skin colors then can change into bright pink or red where you may feel itchy and hot in the swollen area and it also may be accompanied by fever.


Headache can be experienced by people with flu or allergies. Symptoms of headache in flu and allergies sufferers are quite difficult to be distinguished. Usually, flu sufferers have unpleasant feelings in all parts of their head, while allergy sufferers experience headache because of too much sneezing and feeling uncomfortable around the nasal area.

Redness, Rash and Itching

Flu usually does not cause the reactions of redness, rash or itching on the skin but, in allergic, redness, rash or itching can occur. Swelling can occur because of allergy reactions. Itchy and even rash can als appear on the skin.


Allergies causing fatigue more quickly than flu, that is because of an allergic reaction that is constantly happen and causing people who affected by the allergy usually can't be calm due to allergy that occurs continuously, while flu is not quickly lead to exhaustion, so that people who are exposed to flu could be quieter than people who affected by allergic reactions.

Duration of symptoms and reactions

Flu usually suffers longer if compare with allergy. Symptoms of flu develop ranging from headaches, fever, and runny nose. The development of the most recognizable symptom is the snot that changes ranging from early symptoms that shaped in liquid and has transparent color to creamy, yellow or green color and becomes thick. Flu usually occurs until 7 – 10 days. While allergies are usually gone faster around 1 or 2 days after we have a rest and take some medicines.

Either getting flu or allergy, when your ill is not getting better after 12 hours, it is better if you check your illness and consult to your doctor to get the right medicine. Doctor knows better than if you only guess the symptoms of your ill. Either you get the flu or allergy it is also better if you can get plenty of rest until your flu or allergy is gone beside taking any medication.


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