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How do you tell the difference between allergies, a cold and the flu?

Do you have a runny nose and a cough? Those symptoms could mean you have allergies, a cold or the flu.

HOUSTON — Do you have a runny nose, congestion, a cough, or a headache?

Those symptoms could mean you have allergies. Or it could be a cold. Or maybe it's the flu.

How do you tell the difference?

Doctors say a classic distinguishing symptom of allergies is itchiness in your eyes, ears, or back of the throat.

The flu on the other hand, usually comes with a high fever. You also feel body aches.

Doctor Michael Chang says you should pay attention to the time of year you start feeling bad.

“I always get allergy symptoms in the fall. If I start having runny nose and itchy eyes around this time of year, I know that’s more likely to be allergy symptoms then the flu,” said Dr. Chang, infectious disease pediatrician with UTHealth/UT Physicians.

He says flu season typically ramps up at the end of October.

If you want to avoid the flu, the flu shot is your best bet. Now is the right time to get it, since it takes a couple weeks to fully protect you.


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