Colds and allergies can have similar symptoms.
Seasonal allergies and colds share some common symptoms, so it may be hard to tell the two apart.
Both conditions typically involve sneezing, a runny nose and congestion. There are some differences, though.
Additionally, colds usually include coughing and a sore throat, but these symptoms can also occur in people with hay fever who have post-nasal drip. Itchy eyes are common for seasonal allergies, but rare for colds.
"Colds and seasonal allergies seem very similar in many ways," said Dr. Rima Rachid, director of allergy and immunotherapy at Boston Children's Hospital. "It's the duration [length] and chronicity [frequency] of symptoms that might help tell the difference," she explained.
It's not unusual for parents and even doctors to confuse cold and seasonal allergy symptoms, Rachid told Live Science.
Young children frequently get colds, and their parents may not always think of seasonal allergies as the reason for kids' constantly drippy noses. Seasonal allergies may first show up in a child at around ages 4 to 6, but they can also begin at any age after that, Rachid said.
And genetics play a role: People with one parent who has any type of allergy have a 1 in 3 chance of developing an allergy, Rachid said. When both parents have allergies, their children have a 7 in 10 chance of developing allergies, too.