Allergies often cause rashes and itchy eyes, which are not typical symptoms of a cold, states Healthline. Allergies never cause body aches or fever, but colds sometimes do. Both allergies and colds can cause runny nose, coughing, sneezing, sore throat and congestion. Sore throat due to allergies usually develops as a result of postnasal drip.
One of the biggest differences between allergies and colds is that allergies last as long as the person stays in contact with the allergen, whereas colds generally last three to 14 days, according to WebMD. Although colds can occur during any time of the year, most people get colds in the winter months. Allergies can occur at any time, but seasonal triggers often cause allergies to worsen. A cold that lasts longer than 14 days may have progressed to an infection, adds Healthline.
Colds are caused by viruses and are contagious, explains WebMD. Allergies develop due to an overactive immune system response to allergens such as pollen or dust, which the body mistakes for germs. Allergies are not contagious.
Treatment for the common cold involves using pain relievers, cough syrups and nasal decongestants to alleviate underlying symptoms, states WebMD. Allergy treatments include antihistamines and, in severe cases, prescription decongestants.