Allergies vs. Viruses: How To Tell The Difference in Kids?

Little girl sneezing: allergies vs virus in kids

As the seasons change, you notice that your little ones have more runny noses and watery eyes than you would anticipate. We have had many parents ask how they can tell whether their child has allergies or a virus. 

Below are some ways to help distinguish between the two very common ailments. 

Is It Allergies?

Allergies are when the immune system reacts to foreign objects, causing the body to react. Pollen and dust mites are common, but others may have more specific allergies, such as pet dander or particular fragrances. 

Seasonal allergies are the most common due to the pollination from certain plants in the spring, summer, or fall. 

Allergy symptoms can include:

  • Runny Nose
  • Itchy Eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing or Coughing

A way to reduce allergies is taking counter-antihistamine or asking your healthcare provider to prescribe something if your child’s allergies are ongoing or severe. Also, your child may need to see an allergy specialist for an allergy test if the allergies are pervasive. 

Is It a Virus?

A virus, in simple terms, is an infectious agent that enters into the body and can spread by cloning itself to other living cells. 

Viruses spread from bodily fluids, including sneezing, coughing, or even touching different surfaces that someone who is infected by a virus has touched.

Here are some common symptoms that are associated with getting a virus:

  • Fever or Chills
  • Muscle or Body Aches
  • Coughing 
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Headache
  • Sore Throat
  • And More

Depending on the virus, symptoms can vary. Antibiotics do not work for fighting a virus and therefore are often not prescribed unless a bacterial infection is present. Typically medications are recommended to help relieve the child’s symptoms until the body fights off the virus naturally.

Is Your Kid Running a Fever?

Detecting a fever is critical to determine if your child has a virus vs. allergies. If your child has allergy-like symptoms and is running a fever, they likely have a virus. Your child should never run a fever with allergies. 

If symptoms persist, visit a pediatric urgent care near you for diagnosis and treatment. 

KidsStreet Urgent Care Can Help

At KidsStreet Urgent Care for children, we want your little ones to heal and feel better, FAST! 

Turn to KidsStreet Urgent Care when your little ones aren’t feeling their best and need diagnosis or treatment. We are open 7 days a week with pediatric-specific providers at each location! 

Make sure to register online for any of our KidsStreet locations to reduce your in-clinic wait times.