1. Did your symptoms develop suddenly?
It is likely allergies. Exposure to one of your triggers can result in a reaction that is almost immediate. Cold symptoms usually take a few days to develop.
2. Sore and achy?
You are most likely suffering from a cold or flu.
3. Runny or congested nose?
You could be suffering from either a cold or allergies; if nasal discharge is thick and cloudy, it’s probably a cold. If it is thin and watery, then it is likely allergies.
4. Feeling the heat?
Do you have a fever, even a low-grade one? (37.1 to 37.5 ºC.) It’s probably a cold, not allergies.
5. Is it allergy season?
If you think your allergy is of the outdoor nature, take a minute to check the pollen forecast.
Finally consider the four seasons
Colds can happen any time, but more likely in winter. Allergies more often occur the rest of the year — spring, summer, and fall. Do your symptoms occur at the same time each year? You probably have seasonal allergies.