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How To Tell The Difference Between Sinus And Allergies

Colds And Allergies Are The Main Risk Factors For Developing Sinusitis

How to tell the difference between Allergies, Sinus Infections, and COVID-19

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the nasal sinuses, commonly caused by bacterial infection following a viral infection such as the common cold. Other risk factors for developing sinusitis include untreated allergies, crooked nasal anatomy, smoking, nasal polyps and overuse of decongestant nasal sprays.

How To Treat Your Symptoms

Whether you have a cold or a sinus infection, getting plenty of rest and water is key for healing. Antibiotics are only effective if your issues are caused by a bacterial infection, in which case you will likely be prescribed a course of antibiotic pills or liquid to help the body fight bacteria. There are no effective medications to treat colds or viral infections directly, so treating your symptoms is often the best way to help your body heal and normalize.

What Is A Sinus Infection

Sinusitis, or a sinus infection, occurs when sinus tissue becomes inflamed or swollen. A cold, allergies, nasal polyps or a deviated septum can lead to sinusitis. Approximately 37 million Americans experience sinus infection symptoms at least once a year. In children, some of the most common factors that result in sinusitis are allergies, exposure to other children with the illness and smoke in the environment. Adults most commonly develop the condition from infections and smoking.

Known as sinusitis in the medical world, a sinus infection is an infection that is caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungus. The infection can progress and block your sinuses causing your head to hurt and your nose to drain.

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Throat Irritation And Cough

As discharge from your sinuses drains down the back of your throat, it can cause irritation, especially over a long period of time. This can lead to a persistent and annoying cough, which can be worse when lying down to sleep or first thing in the morning after getting up from bed.

It can also make sleeping difficult. Sleeping upright or with your head elevated can help reduce the frequency and intensity of your coughing.

When To See A Healthcare Provider

Cold Or Allergies Suck!

There are cases in which both allergic reactions and sinus infections will require the attention of a medical professional.

If you experience symptoms for several days and cannot identify the ailment, a medical provider will be able to diagnose you properly.

But even if you know what you have, you should seek medical care after experiencing any of the following:

  • Severe headaches or intense facial pain that do not improve with appropriate doses of Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and decongestants
  • Symptoms that get worse after initial improvement
  • Symptoms that persist 10 or more days without improvement, or worsen after 10 days
  • Fever over 100.4° F lasting longer than three days, or any fever above 102° F
  • Problems seeing, double vision, or severe swelling and redness around the eyes
  • Multiple cases over the course of a year
  • Issues with balance or dizziness
  • Discolored nasal discharge
  • Hearing loss or ringing in the ears
  • Recurring adenoid, ear, or tonsil infections
  • Persistent trouble swallowing or talking

A specialist also might have recommendations for preventive measures like allergy shots, which can lessen the way your body reacts to allergens over time. Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app?

to check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and if needed text with a provider in minutes. K Healths AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and based on 20 years of clinical data.

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Carenow Can Help Treat Sinus Infection Symptoms

For temporary relief, apply a warm moist washcloth on your face several times a day. This should help relieve the pressure in your head. A doctor may prescribe a nasal spray to reduce the inflammation inside your nasal passages. If your doctor prescribes medication, its important to take it as prescribed and to follow the proper dosage instructions.

Acute sinusitis can take up to 4 weeks to treat, while chronic sinusitis is more difficult and therefore typically takes longer to treat. While acute sinusitis is typically treated with an antibiotic, chronic sinusitis may require multiple antibiotics, including a corticosteroid nasal spray that can reduce inflammation.

If you find yourself suffering from sinus infection symptoms, consider visiting your local CareNow. Be sure to check in online to avoid the waiting room!

Disclaimer: Patients health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.

How To Treat Allergies During A Pandemic

In the midst of a virus outbreak, it can be hard to get to a clinic for allergy treatment. The first thing to do is to stay away from whatever makes your symptoms flare up.

You can also try over-the-counter allergy medicines. Check with your supermarket or drugstore to see if they deliver and have these medications in stock. Or order them online.

If you have trouble finding them, or if you need something stronger like corticosteroids, call your doctor. They may be able to prescribe something over the phone. Some pharmacies deliver medications.

When social distancing or stay-at-home rules are in effect, always follow the COVID-19 safety steps recommended by public health officials:

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What Are The Treatments For Allergies And Sinus Infections

The treatments for each can be similar. If severe congestion is one of your symptoms, then an over-the-counter or prescription decongestant can help you. Commonly, allergies are treated with antihistamines, and some antihistamine products can have an added decongestant. However, these treatments wont get rid of a sinus infection. To address a viral sinus infection, resting, drinking plenty of fluids, and using a saline spray will help. With that said, sometimes the best way to deal with a viral infection is to wait it out and manage the symptoms. However, sometimes a sinus infection is bacterial, in which case a prescription antibiotic will clear it up quickly. We provide these treatments and more here at Allergy & Asthma Center.

How Do I Tell The Difference Between A Cold And An Allergy

Knowing the difference between allergies and sinusitis

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a cold and an allergy, especially since they share some common symptoms. If someone has both allergies AND a cold at once it is possible for them to experience symptoms of each simultaneously. For example: sore throat from the cold and congestion from allergies. Otherwise, there are some key differences that will help guide your guess.

The best way to tell if you have a cold or an allergy is to pay attention to your symptoms, specifically the ones that they dont share. Both colds and allergies have symptoms that are specific to one or the other. For example, colds are more likely to cause fatigue, aches & pains, sore throat, stuffy nose, headaches, or fever, whereas allergies are more likely to cause itchy eyes, wheezing, or skin rashes.

The appearance and duration of your symptoms is another important factor to consider. Cold symptoms tend to come on slowly over a day or two and typically last about 7-10 days. Allergy symptoms, on the other hand, tend to come on suddenly and last until the trigger is removed or the allergy is treated. Some people have allergies year-round, while others experience seasonal allergy symptoms for 2-3 weeks at a time.

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Allergies Vs Sinusitis: How To Tell The Difference

Summer in upstate New York brings a respite from lake effect snows.

There are a few less desirable aspects of the season, however: mosquitoes, humidity and allergies.

If this is the time of year when your allergies tend to flare up, that constant sneezing and cough might actually be the result of a sinus infection.

How Nasal Allergies Can Cause A Sinus Problem

Common allergens that irritate the nasal passages include pollen, pet dander, dust mites, dirt and so on. Allergic people will react to these allergens by producing chemicals such as histamines. In the nose, the result can be swelling of the inside nasal layer. The swelling may be incredibly painful and bring on cold-like symptoms due to excessive mucus production.

It can be tricky to tell the difference between a sinus infection and a problem caused by allergies. Both conditions can lead to overproduction of mucus and result in a runny nose or congestion. You may also feel sinus pressure from swelling of the nasal passages. Nasal allergies can sometimes lead to itchy eyes, which are less likely with an infection. Speaking to an ENT doctor in Johns Creek, Canton, or a nearby Georgia location will help with a diagnosis.

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When It Comes And When It Goes

If you have allergies, you’ll start feeling symptoms soon after you come into contact with the stuff you’re allergic to. Your symptoms keep up as long as you’re still surrounded by those triggers.

Allergies can happen any time of year. They may be “seasonal,” which means you get them only in the spring or fall. Or they may be year-round. For instance, you might be allergic to pets or mold, which can be a problem no matter the season.

Sinusitis usually happens after you’ve had a cold or allergies. But certain symptoms will keep going, even after your cold goes away. You’ll probably have a stuffy nose and cough for more than a week or two.

You may hear your doctor talk about two kinds of sinusitis: “acute” and “chronic.” There’s a simple way to tell them apart. If your symptoms last less than 4 weeks, it’s acute. If they go on for 3 months or longer, you have chronic sinusitis.

What To Do Next

Colds, Allergies or Sinusitis? Here

If you suspect your symptoms are due to COVID, its important to self-isolate until you can be tested at a Philadelphia COVID-19 testing site.

If COVID-19 has been ruled out and youre still having symptoms, you may be suffering from allergies. Visit an expert allergist to discuss your treatment options.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Pinnacle ENT Associates today.

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Seasonal Allergies Or Sinusitis

So, how can you tell if youre suffering from seasonal allergies or sinusitis in Albany?

The best way is to pay close attention to your symptoms namely when they occur and how often you experience them.

Allergies usually cause a flare-up soon after you come into contact with the trigger.

They are most common in the spring and fall, though they may occur year-round.

Sinusitis usually follows on the heels of a cold or upper respiratory infection .

Infection occurs when the cavities around the nasal passages become inflamed.

Fluid buildup causes many of the same symptoms as allergies, in addition to pain and pressure around the face, forehead and sinuses.

In general, symptoms can persist far longer than with allergies 12 weeks or longer in some cases.

Diagnosing A Sinus Infection

At CareNow®, we recommend coming in for an evaluation if you think you might have a sinus infection. Diagnosing a sinus infection early can prevent the worsening of condition. A CareNow doctor will examine your symptoms and determine the best treatment plan. If the doctor notices signs of swelling, congestion and infection, he or she will likely diagnose you with sinusitis.

Since most sinus infections are viral, treatment will be focused on symptom relief. The doctor will determine when antibiotics may be appropriate.

In some instances, your doctor may recommend you visit an ear, nose and throat doctoralso known as an ENT. An ENT can perform a nasal endoscopy that allows insight into your sinuses. With an endoscopy, the doctor will numb inside your nostrils and insert a thin, flexible device up your nose, allowing him or her a look into your sinuses.

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Are Sinus Infections Common

Yes. Sinus infections are common, affecting 31 million people in the United States. There are two main forms of sinus infections, acute and chronic either can be viral or bacterial infections. An acute sinus infection can last from 10 days to eight weeks. Chronic infection often referred to as chronic sinusitis, can last even longer and continue for months.

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Allergy Medicine Treating The Bodys Adverse Reaction To A Substance

How to tell the difference between seasonal allergies and COVID-19 symptoms

A good percentage of the worlds population is affected by an allergy.

An allergy is the bodys reaction to a substance that doesnt cause much harm to other people, but it does to you. These allergens include dust, pollen, chemicals, foods, animal fur and insect stings.

Allergic reactions include:

  • Skin rashes dermatitis, hives
  • Excessive sweating
  • Bloated stomach, intestinal disturbances, and others. In rare instances, the immune systems react so strongly to the offending substance that death occurs. The most deadly reaction occurs when the allergen gets into the bloodstream and causes an anaphylactic reaction respiratory distress, severe itching, and shock.

Allergies can be debilitating and sinusitis is often so painful it can lead to time off from work. Acute sinusitis will develop quickly and lasts up to 10 days while chronic sinusitis is a long-term inflammation of the sinuses.

In adults, chronic sinusitis can lead to nasal swelling. Allergies cause histamine to be released and this causes the inner lining of the nose to swell and prevent sinus drainage. People with asthma and immune system problems develop chronic sinusitis more often than others.

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Can I Prevent The Allergies That Lead To A Sinus Infection

While you cant fully prevent allergies, you may be able to avoid what is causing the allergic reaction. For example, if you have seasonal allergies and the pollen count is high, stay indoors and keep the windows shut and air conditioning on. Knowing what causes the allergic response, and then mapping out a strategy of medications and avoidance techniques is something that your doctor can help you with.

However, prevention is possible with sinus infections caused by bacteria or viruses. Its always a good idea to get plenty of rest and exercise regularly to keep your immune system functioning. Some of the other preventative techniques to head off a sinus infection are similar to what youd do to stave off colds and flu, including staying hydrated and taking vitamin C to boost your immunity. Frequent handwashing was always important well before the COVID-19 pandemic reminded us to improve our hygiene. You should also avoid nasal irritants like smoke or other pollution. Keeping the nose hydrated with a saline spray will help the sinuses work more effectively.

Despite your best efforts, if you are experiencing the symptoms of a sinus infection, its important to see your doctor to diagnose whats going on and help you get better fast.

Typical Causes Of Sinus Infection

A bacterial infection is often the cause of a sinus infection. Still, there are several factors that can increase the probability of acquiring a sinus infection. These include allergies, a previous cold, smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke, presence of nasal polyps, and a weak immune system. It is also possible to get a sinus infection from dental diseases4.

If the sinuses get blocked for a long time, you can get a secondary infection, which can stay in the respiratory tract. These bacteria will multiply and can cause a more serious health condition.

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Can Nasal Allergies Cause Sinus Problems

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Most people wont think about their sinuses very much until theres a problem. An Atlanta ear, nose & throat doctor can help provide nasal allergy treatment and other solutions that impact the sinuses.

These hollow spaces behind your cheeks, nose and forehead produce mucus that protects against bacteria and dirt. When a problem does occur, the swelling and inflammation can become painful and aggravating, and will be hard to ignore.

  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Bad breath

In order to determine what condition you are suffering from, your physician will review your list of symptoms and perform a physical exam. The difference between these two conditions can be boiled down into two questions:

Is your sinus congestion accompanied by watery or itchy eyes?

Do you have a headache, pressure or pain in the face and chronic fatigue?

Watery or itchy eyes will lead your doctor to determine that you are suffering from seasonal allergies, while pain or pressure in the face combined with a headache and fatigue is usually an indication that you have a sinus infection.

The reason it is important to figure out what is causing your symptoms is because that will shape your treatment plan.

Antihistamines, decongestants and nasal or oral corticosteroids are used to treat seasonal allergies. Immunotherapy is an option for long-term relief of these symptoms.

So How Do I Know If Its Sinus Or Allergies

How to Tell the Difference Between a Cold, the Flau, and ...

Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to an allergen like pollen or dust. A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, occurs when the nasal passage gets infected. The conditions can have similar symptoms like congestion and stuffy nose, but the conditions are quite different.

Its possible to have allergies at any point in your life even though they tend to be most common during childhood. Its also possible for allergies to lead to a condition called allergic rhinitis. With this condition, itchy eyes is a common symptom in addition to the other symptoms caused by a sinus infection or allergies. If itchy eyes is one of your symptoms, then your condition likely isnt sinusitis and likely is allergies. However, if pain around your cheeks and eyes is a symptom youre having, or possibly thick, discolored mucus, then you likely have a sinus infection.

Its actually possible to have both conditions at the same time. This can cause even more confusion, so its often best to get professional testing and treatment.

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