It's bad enough that it's after tax day and we are having December weather in the Grand Valley. On top of that, we are in the third week of April and it looks like I'm getting a good old-fashioned cold. Are you  seriously kidding me? The fact is, colds aren't that uncommon this time of year, they are just a pain in the you-know-what. But, allergies are also flaring up, so how can you tell if you are suffering from a cold or a seasonal allergy?

For the answer to that question we call on Mayo Clinic internist James M. Steckelberg, MD.

Dr. Steckelberg says colds and allergies share many of the same symptoms but are very different afflictions. Common colds are caused by viruses, while seasonal  allergies are an immune system response. Dr. Steckelberg says colds can be treated with over-the-counter medicines, pain relievers, and rest. Allergies can be treated with over-the-counter or presciption anti-histamines, nasal sprays and decongestants, and by avoiding exposure to the suspected allergens.

According to the Mayo Clinic, here's how to tell if you are suffering from a cold or allergies.

Aches and PainsSometimesNever
Itchy EyesRarelyUsually
Sore ThroatUsuallySometimes
Runny NoseUsuallyUsually
Stuffy NoseUsuallyUsually

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