Is it hay fever, a cold or the flu?

Children playing in water sprinkler

Helping you understand your symptoms during the hay fever season.

Check your symptoms using the table below:1

Allergy, cold and flu have several things in common as they all affect the respiratory system. Match your symptoms to the table below, to help you understand if you have an allergy or perhaps a cold or the flu. If in doubt, consult your pharmacist or doctor.

  Illness (Cause)
Symptoms Airborne allergy
Cold (Virus) Flu (Virus)
Itchy & watery eyes Common Rare Rare
Stuffy, runny nose Common Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Usual Sometimes
Sore throat Sometimes Common Sometimes
Cough Sometimes Common Common, can become severe
Fatigue, weakness Sometimes Sometimes Usual
Headache Uncommon Sometimes Common
General aches, pains Very rare Slight Usual
Fever Very rare Rare Usual

Adapted from reference: 1. NIH News in Health. Cold, flu, or allergy? Know the difference for best treatment. October 2014. Available at Accessed December 2019.