A note from FITNESS: We are proud to partner with SparkPeople to provide our readers with even more helpful content. ---- You’re sneezing. Your nose is running. Your eyes are watering. And you’re feeling run down. Is it a cold, allergies, or something else? When you've got the sniffles, it’s important to be able to distinguish between the causes of your symptoms so that you know which treatment to seek, whether or not you’re contagious, whether you should see your healthcare provider, and how to prevent your symptoms from coming back. Colds and allergies, quite obviously, have very different causes. Although the symptoms of both ailments occur when your body’s immune system reacts to a foreign body, in the case of colds this foreign body is a virus, while for allergies, the culprit is generally something benign, such as dust mite particles or pollen. When exposed to allergens, your body recognizes the foreign substance as harmful, so it creates an immune response as if you were sick.