También en / Also in Spanish
The difference between allergic rhinitis and common cold is not allways easy, although there are some clues that can help affected patients to know their disease.
Allergic Rhinitis is an inflammation of the inner surface of the nose (nasal mucosa) due to an allergic trigger (house dust mite, pollen), and common cold is an infectious disease of the nasal and throat mucosa, mostly virus-induced (most frequently rhinovirus and coronavirus).
Influenza (or “flu”) is another viral disease of the respiratory airways that can be confusing to distinguish. It is a more generalized (nose, bronchi, muscles and joints) and may have high fever. Medical complications (pneumonia, otitis, sinusitis) may happen as well.
Cold or Allergy?
Nowadays allergic rhinitis is underdiagnosed. To get to the final diagnose, it is crucial a good clinical record (doctor will interview the patient to get as much information as possible), as well as allergy skin testing to establish the allergen causing the rhinitis. If asthma symptoms are found (cough, wheezing, shortness of breath), more tests may be needed, as spirometry or exhaled nitric oxide determination.