Already in the spring the first complaints appear. First, flower pollen from trees are the cause, then the grasses, cereals and herbs. The allergic reaction is triggered by pollen proteins. This form of reaction falls into the upper category of allergic rhinitis. Also house dust or mites can be a trigger. The typical symptoms: a runny nose, watery, red eyes, itching and swelling. Almost like a cold. Hay Fever & Cold: The Differences. But there are differences – and some of them are seasonal: a cold usually threatens all year – but most often in winter. At this time, the pollen, which cause hay fever, no longer play a role. Allergy sufferers are usually affected at one and the same time each year. In the case of a cold, it may be against it, for example, that a person does not get ill for years. The nasal secretion. In a cold, the secretion is thick and cloudy. For hay fever, however, watery and clear. Also, there is a clear difference in the "start-up time": the classic hay fever can appear within minutes, while the cold-induced runny nose but requires a few hours (or even days). The cough. Cough is part of a classic cold. In hay fever affected but he rarely occurs – and then occurs only briefly.