How to Tell If It's An Allergy Or Cold?


Disclosure_Image Late last year, we noticed the Frog Princess had a persistent little cough/throat clearing. It's possibly the thing that they use to break spies into spilling their secrets. But it wasn't only annoying to me, it was annoying to her. And it wasn't a cold. What gives?

We had to go in to get her lungs checked just to be sure. Everything turned out great (and she happily went home with these little nose plugs that she showed all who would look). Except that we had not ruled out allergies.

What in the world?! Allergies?! Really?!? Though my girl had been good throughout the spring and summer, a week before school began, I heard it again. So off we went to a follow up.

Though we already have our first school cold under our belts, I can tell you that there's a big difference between that and these allergies. 

Cute even with a cold.

I did not realize that allergies are the third most common chronic disease among children 18 and under! Lawd help us! According to, almost 60% of children with parents who suffer from seasonal allergies, will also suffer from seasonal allergies. And although I firmly believe denial is a river in Egypt, having the Frog Princess diagnosed with allergies has caused me to face my own.

Her allergies have presented slightly different than mine, which is why I think it took a while for me to realize what was happening. It doesn't help that these kids pass on all the friggin' germs around and I'm always wondering: is it a cold or is it allergies?

Thankfully, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson has hooked it up with this video to remind us of the differences just in time for the snotty noses to come home to roost...

There's also this handy dandy infographic (you're welcome!):

Allergies or cold? Know the symptoms!

So, when she had her first cold, I noticed the difference pretty quickly. I also realized that I had to be doubly careful with her allergy meds since she was experiencing a headache as well as a low grade fever with the cold and I didn't want anything counteracting or her getting too much of one ingredient if it was present in both meds. Can I tell you that it feels like I read Drug Facts for a living? I mean, seriously folks.

Making sure that the meds I'm giving her don't have ibuprofen or acetaminophen is super important. I'm also careful to not give her allergy meds that will make her sleepy at school. While we're on the sleepy meds conversation, I am sure none of y'all have done this but, please be sure that you're not administering over-the-counter medications to make kids sleepy. It's dangerous, you guys. 

Don't use allergy medicines to make your child sleepy!

Also, make sure that you're consulting a doctor if you are giving a child that's under age 6 over-the-counter meds containing diphenhydramine. I've checked with our pediatrician before when she's prescribed over-the-counter meds and I know I always get a little extra peace of mind from having her advise me on this subject. 

We have some additional testing to do soon (I'm NOT looking forward to the bloodwork, y'all). But I'm glad we've been able to find the Frog Princess some relief. And radical honesty: my nerves are grateful too. There's nothing like hearing your kid clear her throat/cough 50 11 times to make you feel like you'll lose your mind. Not being able to help your little ones when they're sick is the worst feeling.

I'm glad that I am acquiring the tools to make sure that I can help her quicker, when she's showing certain symptoms. Have you experienced your first cold of the school year yet?