Cold: Common cold is a mild viral infection that infects the nose and the upper respiratory illness. Rhinovirus is the most common virus causing the cold. These viruses thrive in humid climate and therefore people generally catch cold during winter and rainy seasons. It transmits from one person to the other via air. It generally begins with sore throat and running nose which might then lead to sneezing, cough, moderate fever, headache and mild tiredness over a period of few days. It is most contagious in first 3 days and typically lasts for about 3-7 days. However, home remedies like warm water gargle and over the counter medicines like Kanthika, cough drops etc can be taken.
Flu: Flu on the other hand is more serious respiratory tract infection which is caused by Influenza viruses. It is contagious and usually spread by cough and sneezes of the affected person. Its symptoms are more severe than cold which include high fever, fatigue, headache severe body ache, prolonged coughs accompanied with shaking chills. It generally lasts longer than cold. If you are suffering from prolonged fever and body ache for more than 5-7 days, you should consult a doctor. However, home remedies like ginger honey tea and over the counter medicines like Kanthika might provide you some comfort.
Allergies: Cold in summer is generally confused as allergies by the people, because you don’t expect to catch a cold in summer. However, allergies are caused by an overactive immune system of the body. Your body might sometimes mistake harmless things, such as dust or pollen, for germs and attacks on them. This might result in swelling of the nose passages, itching, irritation, sneezing and coughing. Unlike cold, allergies are generally non-contagious and last as long as your body is in contact with the elements triggering the allergy. Once you stop your body from being in contact with those elements you are likely to recover soon. You may consult your doctor is you are unable to find out the allergic triggering element.
Sinus Infection: There are times when cold may cause inflammation or swelling of the sinuses (i.e. empty spaces in the skull that are connected to each other). The swelling blocks the passage and prevents the flow of mucus wherein bacteria can grow which leads to sinus infection often referred as sinusitis. You are likely to be suffering from Sinusitis, if you are suffering from pain in the areas around your face, eyes and forehead accompanied by stuffy nose, congestion with a thick yellow or green nasal discharge. Nasal drops and inhaling warm vapors might provide instant relief. However if such symptoms lasts for more than 14 days, you should consult a doctor.
Hope this helped you know what ailment you are likely to be suffering from and take the necessary treatment. However, in case of doubt please contact your doctor. The sooner you diagnose, the sooner you can be treated.