Pay Close Attention To Symptoms To Determine If Cause Is Sinus Infection Or Allergies
Dear Mayo Clinic:
I have long suffered from allergies. But there have been times when I haven’t been sure if my symptoms are really from my allergies or may be caused by a sinus infection instead. How can I tell the difference?
Allergies and sinus infections are often mistaken for one another. But they are two separate conditions. By paying close attention to the specific symptoms you have, you can usually identify which one is more likely to be causing the problem.
A sinus infection, also called sinusitis, affects the cavities around your nasal passages. The infection causes your sinuses to become inflamed and swollen. The swelling makes it hard for your sinuses to drain, and mucus builds up. You become congested and have trouble breathing through your nose. Sinusitis often causes thick yellow or green nasal discharge. A sore throat, cough or headache, as well as pressure or tenderness around your eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead, may also accompany sinusitis.
In most cases, viruses cause sinusitis. These viral infections usually go away on their own within a week to 10 days. Self-care measures such as extra rest and fluids along with over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants can help. When sinusitis is caused by bacteria, the infection may not require treatment, either. But if it is persistent or severe, then antibiotics such as amoxicillin, doxycycline and others may be used to treat the infection.
Don’t Go Near These 15 Foods If You Have Sinus Problems
Posted: · by Shai Cohen
The season of allergy goes along during the winter season or the cold months and the usual thing that people experience are sinus conditions or problems. Some people may consider sinus problems as normal or common but it is important to know that sinus problems may be signs of other underlying conditions.
Why Does My Nose Run When I Eat
Its believed that certain foods are a stronger stimulus to the trigeminal nerve.
We think of our nose as just taking in air or smells. But there are nerves in our nose, which help produce mucus so it stays moist and helps with airflow regulation, Dr. Sindwani explains. The trigeminal nerve can also be stimulated by certain foods, which can then cause your nose to run.
Gustatory rhinitis also tends to occur in adults older than 50.
The reason why is unclear, says Dr. Sindwani.
But older adults may also have to deal with other nasal issues like infections, allergies and irritants. Senile rhinitis, which results in post-nasal drip, itchy nose, sneezing, nasal dryness or crusting, is related to aging as well.
- Phlegm in throat, known as postnasal drip.
These symptoms are very similar for different kinds of rhinitis as well.
Gustatory rhinitis is a form of nonallergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis can be triggered by mold, pollen and dust. Food allergies can also be at play with nasal symptoms. Common food allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, gluten and eggs.
So, how do you figure out whats actually causing your runny nose?
Your doctor may diagnose you with gustatory rhinitis, but they will first make sure that theres no other reason that your nose is running, says Dr. Sindwani.
Thisll involve a thorough history and physical examination, which may include a nasal endoscopy and may even involve allergy testing.
Read Also: Can You Take Allergy Medicine With Alcohol
Allergies And Dizziness: The Cause And The Treatment
If youre feeling dizzy, you might be wondering whats causing it. Dehydration, medications, and a variety of conditions can cause you to feel dizzy and nauseated.
While dizziness might seem like a mild condition, it can actually be very disruptive to daily life. It can even be so severe that it leaves you stuck in bed for hours or days.
Dizziness can sometimes be caused by allergies.
An allergy is the immune systems response to a foreign substance thats not typically harmful to your body. These foreign substances are called allergens. They may include certain foods, pollen, or pet dander.
Allergy-related nasal and sinus congestion can lead to dizziness or a more severe type of dizziness called vertigo.
Sinus Problems Caused By Food Allergies
A common symptom of food allergies is sinus problems.The sinuses are cavities in your head, located directly behind your nose and eyes that help to filter unwanted particles from the air you breathe in. They are made of sensitive soft tissue and lined with mucus membranes that keep the tissue soft and moist. During a food allergy, the sinuses become inflamed because of increased levels of histamine in the body 12. Chronic sinus problems can lead to sinus infections and further complications. Talk with your doctor about your symptoms.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Don’t Miss: How To Treat Seasonal Allergies
How Is Sinus Infection Diagnosed
Diagnosis depends on symptoms and requires an examination of the throat, nose and sinuses. Your allergist will look for:
- Discolored nasal discharge
- Bad Breath
If your sinus infection lasts longer than eight weeks, or if standard antibiotic treatment is not working, a sinus CT scan may help your allergist diagnose the problem. Your allergist may examine your nose or sinus openings. The exam uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light at one end that is inserted through the nose. It is not painful. Your allergist may give you a light anesthetic nasal spray to make you more comfortable.
Mucus cultures: If your sinus infection is chronic or has not improved after several rounds of antibiotics, a mucus culture may help to determine what is causing the infection. Most mucus samples are taken from the nose. However, it is sometimes necessary to get mucus directly from the sinuses.
Knowing what kind of bacteria is causing the infection can lead to more effective antibiotic therapy. A fungus could also cause your sinus infection. Confirming the presence of fungus is important. Fungal sinus infection needs to be treated with antifungal agents, rather than antibiotics. In addition, some forms of fungal sinus infection allergic fungal sinus infection, for example do not respond to antifungal agents and often require the use of oral steroids.
What Is A Sinus Infection
When a patient has a sinus infection , there is swelling or inflammation inside the nose and head causing stuffy nose or difficulty of breathing, as well as pain on the forehead and around the eyes. Sinusitis happens because there is a blockage on the drainage that keeps the nose clean. When a blockage occurs, fluids do not flow properly causing bacteria to grow leading to an infection. Sinusitis can affect both children and adults.
Recommended Reading: Can Food Allergies Cause A Runny Nose
Foods That Can Trigger Sinus Issues
Many issues can cause sinus infections. Viruses, bacteria, allergies, and exposure to cold weather are just a few of the most common sources from which sinus issues can spring. There are four sinus passages that connect through the nose and head to allow for drainage of mucus and the removal of toxins out of the body. If these passages become inflamed, clogged, or blocked in any, it can result in pressure and infection. One of the most commonly misunderstood connections is food, especially sweets and their ingredients. Even low-level food sensitivities can result in adverse sinus reactions. But luckily, knowing what foods trigger sinus issues can help to alleviate your nasal issues.
How To Protect Your Sinuses
Use these tips to reduce inflammation and prevent problems:
- Apply a warm, moist washcloth to your face several times a day to help open the transition spaces.
- Drink plenty of fluids to thin the mucus.
- Inhale steam two to four times per day. Sit in the bathroom with the hot shower running.
- Use a nasal saline spray several times per day.
- Wash your nose with a salt water solution from a neti pot.
- Get a humidifier to moisten the air you breathe and help open sinuses.
If your sinus problems are related to allergies:
- Avoid your allergy triggers.
- Use antihistamines and if needed.
- Talk to your doctor to see if you need prescription medicines, allergy shots, or other forms of “immunotherapy” .
- Lastly, if your sinus problems keep coming back, you can ask your doctor about the pros and cons of surgery to clean and drain the sinuses.
Ford Albritton, MD, director, the Center for Sinus and Respiratory Disease at the Texas Institute, Dallas.
Jordan Josephson, MD, director, NY Nasal & Sinus Center attending physician, Lennox Hill Hospital author, Sinus Relief Now.
Kidshealth.org: âWhen Sinuses Attack.â
National Institutes of Health: âSinusitis.â
WebMD Medical Reference: âWhen a Cold Becomes a Sinus Infection.â
You May Like: Can Allergies Cause Tooth Sensitivity
How Food Allergies Can Lead To Other Conditions: Sinusitis Hypertension And Acne
Food allergies can cause health conditions that seem unrelated to what you eat. And they can cause not only digestive problems, but they can also cause many other problems as well. Food allergies affect the entire body and are immune reactions that lead to inflammation.
Because nutrients are digested, absorbed and circulated throughout the body, inflammatory responses to food can be exhibited in any part of the body. This is why food allergies can cause a wide range of problems.
Allergies And Difficulty Swallowing
It is possible to have difficulty swallowing as a result of blockage or swelling in the throat due to allergies. The bodys response to allergies can cause enough excess mucous to block or narrow the esophagus, causing inflammation or discomfort and leading to symptoms of dysphagia. If prolonged, this inflammation can become esophagitis, which is caused by the presence of any unfamiliar substance affecting the esophagus. An intense allergic reaction can also cause an acute swelling of the esophagus making it difficult to breathe and swallow.
Recommended Reading: How To Know If You Have The Flu Or Allergies
What Should You Do If You Find Certain Foods Lead To Sinus Discomfort
Before you jump into a diet that totally eliminates everything you could possibly have a reaction to, talk to your doctor about what is going on. They may guide you through an elimination diet and/or suggest food allergy testing, which will pinpoint exactly what youre allergic to.
However, if you think the problem is more in your sinuses than in your food intake, CT Sinus Center can help. When you come in, well take the time to really talk to you about your diet, symptoms and medical history. Then after we get to the root of the problem, well develop a treatment plan that is right for you. If you do have chronic sinusitis, you could be the perfect candidate for balloon sinuplasty, a non-invasive, in-office procedure that has few side effects and no downtime.
Call 860-BALLOON to make your appointment at one CT Sinus Centers four conveniently-located offices Kent and Waterbury. After all, no one wants to diet if they dont have to.
Do These Foods Affect Your Sinuses
Most people know that your nose will likely run when you eat spicy food, but did you know that these foods can create similar scenarios?
Alcohol: An alcohol intolerance is caused by a genetic condition in which the body lacks the specific enzyme necessary to break down alcohol, which then becomes toxic. Mayo Clinic explains that inflammation and mucus production also stem from sulfites or other preservatives chemicals, grains or other ingredients or histamine, a byproduct of fermentation or brewing.
Dairy, or more specifically milk: A milk intolerance is much more common than a milk allergy, which is good because the latter can be fatal. The intolerance is caused by not having enough of the enzyme used to break down the lactose in milk and that can cause congestion and runny nose among other uncomfortable conditions.
Refined sugar: Refined sugar is what is called a proinflammatory, which means that, like it sounds, too much of it can cause inflammation, including in the sinus cavity.
Read Also: Is Benadryl Allergy The Same As Benadryl
Foods To Avoid When Suffering From Sinusitis
Sinusitis is one of the common conditions that affect people who live in polluted areas. Among the common symptoms, acute and lasting pain in the nasal passages is the most prominent.
It is actually hard to avoid sinus inflammation and pain, but fortunately, there are measures that can help reduce the symptoms.
Even though no single food or combination of foods and liquids are a cure for sinus, foods have a dramatic effect on sinus symptoms. You can follow the below guidelines to lower the inflammation. Before getting right into it, let us clear out how food help in the condition.
The Rise In Food Allergy Cases
The number of people with food allergies has risen sharply over the past few decades and, although the reason is unclear, other allergic conditions such as atopic dermatitis have also increased.
One theory behind the rise is that a typical child’s diet has changed considerably over the last 30 to 40 years.
Another theory is that children are increasingly growing up in “germ-free” environments. This means their immune systems may not receive sufficient early exposure to the germs needed to develop properly. This is known as the hygiene hypothesis.
Read Also: Will Allergies Make Your Body Ache
Wheat Allergy Vs Gluten Intolerance
One of the most common food allergies in children, according to MayoClinic.com, is to wheat and wheat-based products. This type of allergy becomes less common as a child ages into adolescence and adulthood. While many people live with an intolerance for wheat gluten, a true allergy to this food isn’t as common, according to the University of Kentucky. Wheat gluten is found in any product made from wheat, including soy sauce, beer and popular condiments. Symptoms of an allergy can include sinus congestion, sneezing and excess mucus production in the nasal passages.
Testing For Food Allergies
It is difficult to recognize food allergies. Allergy symptoms may show up hours or even days after a food is well absorbed into your system.
This difficulty is compounded by the fact that certain foods, such as dairy and wheat, are so prevalent in our diet that most people eat them every day. Therefore, connecting your symptoms with your eating habits is often nearly impossible.
The only sure way to determine if you have a food allergy is to have your blood tested for all antibodies to a variety of foods. This is done with blood testing, which measure your immune response to at least 100 different foods. Finding out about food allergens might relieve some medical symptoms you might not link to food allergies, like sinus problems, high blood pressure, or acne.
If youd like to learn more about these types of food allergies and their connection to your health, please schedule an appointment with us. Our expertise is in helping you discover the hidden potential within you that can dramatically improve your health.
Why Should You Treat A Sinus Problem
Some sinus problems will clear up without needing medication or treatment. Drinking water and rest can lead to the gradual easing of symptoms, but a more serious sinus problem could result in further issues. The build-up of mucus could cause a sinus infection that will only exacerbate the problem. In fact, an ear infection may be the side effect of congestion behind the eardrum. Also, mucus drainage down the throat could cause a sore throat and persistent cough.
Food Allergies And The Link To Acne
Acne can be embarrassing, frustrating, and downright unfair. Fortunately, most of the time, it is also avoidable. Most people assume getting acne is a normal part of life. But why do some people get acne when others do not and why do certain people have such bad cases of acne?
Commercial treatments for acne focus on keeping the skin clean and clearing clogged pores. This sounds reasonable, but again, why do some people have to obsessively clean their skin when others do not and why do some people cleanse, exfoliate, deep clean and still get acne?
The real problem with this approach to acne is that acne develops from inside the body, not outside. The skin is an organ, and it is an organ of elimination. We eliminate waste products through our skin, just as we lose minerals when we sweat.
Too many toxins inside the body can lead to inflammation in the skin resulting in clogged pores and acne. In order to treat the cause of the acne we must first remove the toxins.
Food allergies cause many acne cases as well as many other skin issues. Eating a food to which the body is allergic leads to a continuous toxic reaction. In such cases, the immune system fights the food as if it were an invading organism. This can cause inflammation in the skin as well as the need to eliminate the toxin.
There isnt just one food that causes acne. Any food allergy is capable of causing acne. However, the most common cause of acne that I see in my practice is dairy products.
You May Like: Does Ibuprofen Affect Allergy Testing
How A Damaged Gut Leads To Sinus Pain
Sinus pain is often caused by the inability to fully digest certain ‘modern’ foods . Half broken down proteins actually damage the gut lining making it ‘leaky’ – so foreign particles get into the blood stream where they should not be. The body’s natural response is an immune reaction – just like a mild allergic response deep inside – where the effects are not immediately noticeable. It is the beginning of chronic inflammation and a series of ‘alert’ warnings to all systems.
The food culprits include gluten , corn, yeasts and casein from milk. We also know the lectins in Nightshade vegetables can cause Leaky Gut. Any one of these could be causing your sinus pain.
Well-established scientific research* has repeatedly made the connection between respiratory disease and certain food proteins. And your sinus symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg. In fact they are an excellent warning sign that you are sensitive to food toxins!
‘First off, let me tell you that I love your program! … I never knew I had a food intolerance and now I know for sure. . . my headaches have stopped . . . and I can breathe for the first time ever in my life so THANK YOU!’ Angie M.