Many people associate the winter months with illnesses such as the common cold. However, people are just as easily susceptible to catching a cold in the summer months as well. Unfortunately, many of the symptoms of a cold mimic those of allergies. It can be difficult to tell the two apart, and, once a sick employee comes to work, much of the damage is done. Identifying key differences between the common cold and allergies is the first step to keeping the workplace healthy.
Is it Allergies or a Cold?
The following are some of the major differences between a cold and allergies:
- Colds have additional symptoms. While allergy sufferers will experience sneezing, runny noses, sore throat, and congestion, individuals with a cold will also have coughing and feel generally run down.
- Allergies last longer. If the individual has been sneezing for weeks on end, allergies are likely the source of the problem. While allergy symptoms can be as misery-inducing as cold symptoms, allergies last much longer. Colds typically last 1-2 weeks at most.
- Cold symptoms fluctuate. Allergy symptoms are usually persistent and constant. Colds, however, can shift in intensity with certain symptoms being worse from day to day and even hour to hour.
- Cold symptoms appear in stages. For allergy sufferers, their symptoms hit all at once whereas individuals coming down with a cold experience symptoms one at a time. On day one of onset, they may wake up with a sore throat while day two may present a runny nose.
- Nasal discharge is not the same. Allergy sufferers tend to have clear, thin nasal discharge whereas individuals with a cold may notice yellowish to greenish mucus that is thick in consistency. This is due to an increase in white blood cells, indicating the body is fighting off an illness.
Preventing the spread of germs in the workplace is vital to keeping it operational and productive. Encouraging employees to wash their hands often and to stay home when sick can help cut down on illness in the workplace. Healthy employees are happier, more productive, and less prone to absenteeism. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how we can help your business reduce absences.