5 Illnesses That Can Get Mistaken for a Cold


If you were to ask a doctor or a nurse working at a medical diagnostics company about the most common illness in the world, they would probably tell you that it is the common cold. Children tend to get it a few times per year, and adults get it up to three times per year.

However, not every condition that feels and looks like a cold is really a cold. In fact, quite a few illnesses out there often get mistaken for a cold, including pneumonia, strep throat, and allergies. How are they different from a cold, though?

If you want to know the answer to that question, you should keep reading! In this article, you will find a list of illnesses that can easily get mistaken for a cold, ranging from influenza and pneumonia to allergies. Check it out!


Do you want to know what the differences between cold and influenza are? The symptoms of these two illnesses are similar. However, there are a few differences between these two. For example, most people catch a cold when they have a weak immune system.

That is not exactly the case with influenza. It is very infectious and can hit people who have strong immune systems. On top of that, influenza comes with a fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, which are not common symptoms of a regular cold.


Pneumonia can be mistaken for a cold, too. The main difference between the two is that a cold is not as serious as pneumonia. Pneumonia can start with mild symptoms, but it might start getting worse at such a fast pace that it might eventually lead to death.

Other than that, pneumonia has a set of different symptoms, including fast breathing, fever, a dry cough, chest pain, chest tightness, and unusual breathing sounds. If you are showing the symptoms of pneumonia, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a very common condition that can easily be confused for cold. However, a common cold is usually not associated with tonsillitis or pharyngitis. Strep throat is caused by streptococcus bacteria, and it is very common in adults and children alike.

If there is an infection in your throat due to strep bacteria, then you may experience a painful sore throat, swollen glands in your neck, yellow or white patches on your tonsils, and a fever. On top of that, you might have bad taste in your mouth.

It is important not to confuse strep throat for a simple sore throat caused by a cold virus. Due to the fact that it is caused by bacteria, standard antibiotic treatment should really help with the symptoms and shorten the duration of your illness.

Keep in mind that if it is not treated properly, it can lead to complications, such as rheumatic fever, meningitis, and kidney damage. If you think that you have strep throat, it would be best if you saw your doctor immediately.


Bronchitis is an illness that can be misdiagnosed as cold because its symptoms are very similar. However, bronchitis is much more serious than just a cold and really needs medical attention as soon as possible, as it may lead to chronic bronchitis.

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the breathing tubes that can be caused by smoking and air pollution, among other things. Its main symptoms are a cough that produces phlegm and is present in the morning, wheezing, shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, chills, and chest pain.


Allergies can cause symptoms that are similar to the symptoms of a common cold, including a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. However, unlike with colds and other conditions mentioned above, allergies do not cause fever and last a very long time.

You may also experience additional allergy symptoms, such as skin irritation and itchy eyes. In the more severe cases, it might cause inflammation of your sinuses and ear pain. In case you are suspecting that you have an allergy, contact your doctor.

Is It a Cold or Something Else?

There are many differences between the conditions mentioned above and the common cold. You just have to analyze the symptoms that you are showing and pinpoint these differences.

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell what condition you have based on its symptoms alone. If you want to figure out whether you have a cold or another condition, it would be best if you contacted your doctor. Their extensive knowledge will help determine what the illness that you are dealing with is and find an appropriate treatment.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here