It is the season when sniffles are a common thing. But often the runny nose and a cough can be more than just common cold. It may be an allergy or worse, it could be flu.

Understanding the difference between these two conditions can help you get the right treatment and fight the problem faster. Here’s what you should look out for:

1.You know it is a cold if you suddenly get a sore throat, and running nose, sneezing, fatigue and a low grade fever.

2.A mild cough is a common cold symptom. The cough won't get much worse, but this common cold symptom is likely to last into the second week of your cold.

3.Check with your doctor if your mucus is dark in color and you are feeling a lot of distress in the lower parts of your lungs. It may be a bacterial infection.

4.Cold symptoms generally stay for two weeks and then vanish.

5.You know you have allergic rhinitis if cold like symptoms last longer than two weeks.

6.Your get an allergy when your body overreacts to substances such as mold or pollen. As histamine gets released in your body, it causes swelling in your nasal passages, a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing.

7.Allergies are not contagious, although some people may inherit a tendency to develop them.

8.You can treat it with doses of anti-histamine.

9.In the beginning, flu often mimics common cold symptoms, but your fever will be higher than 101 degrees F.

10.It is an acute respiratory infection caused by a variety of influenza viruses.

11.You know you have flu if your cold is accompanied by muscle aches and soreness, headache, and high fever.

12.Flu is contagious and you need to keep your hands off mucus membranes of your nose, eyes, and mouth.

13.If you have the flu, it will make it tough to swallow.