Allergy Vs. Cold Mucus Color

(Image: Image by, courtesy of Michael Hashizume)

The difference between allergies and colds are sometimes hard to distinguish, but the mucus being expelled from your nose can often indicate the kind of illness you are experiencing.


Mucus is a thick, gelatinous liquid that provides our bodies with a defense against foreign substances that could harm us. It is found in most of our body’s organs, including the nose, throat, lungs, intestines and digestive system.


The mucus produced when you are experiencing allergies tends to be clear and runny and is referred to as post-nasal drip, which occurs when you have excess mucus dripping down the back of your nose or throat.


Mucus associated with a virus tends to change color during the duration of the infection. Colds tend to last five to seven days, and if you experience a fever of more than 101 degrees you could be experiencing sinusitis and should see a doctor.

Other Differences

Another main difference between cold and allergy symptoms is that you usually experience itchiness around the eyes, throat or ears with an allergy. Allergies tend to last longer than colds, as well.


There are numerous products on the market, such as Mucinex, to relieve the discomfort associated with excess mucus buildup, and a number of national pharmacies have their own brand of mucus relief products.

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