ZocdocAnswersWhat causes many different cold / flu / allergy symptoms?

Question

What causes many different cold / flu / allergy symptoms?

I'm in my 20s and for three weeks I have had the following symptoms: coughing, sneezing, congestion, sore throat, bloody nasal mucus, fatigue, hives, watery eyes. Could this just be a normal cold / flu type illness? If so, I don't understand why I'm having allergy symptoms. What's wrong with me?

Answer

It sounds like you are pretty miserable. This is the right season for some of the nasty upper respiratory tract infections and other viral syndromes. Many of these symptoms are very similar to allergic reactions. If you have recently moved, or if you are now being exposed to a new environment, then allergies would need to be ruled out by a doctor. Upper respiratory tract infections routinely cause cough, sneezing, congestion, sore throat, and fatigue. You symptoms of blood nasal mucus suggests that you cold has progressed to a sinus infection. This is a bacterial infection in your sinuses. These will sometimes require antibiotic therapy to resolve completely. Another possibility that could explain your symptoms is bronchitis. Viral bronchitis can develop from a cold and can cause coughing, sore throat, and fatigue. These infections can produce symptoms for a few weeks which may explain why you have felt bad for so long. Either way I think it would be best for you to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can get to the bottom of your problem by taking a detailed history and performing a thorough physical exam. If you do in fact have a sinus infection, then you can get a prescription for antibiotics.

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