Can Allergies Cause A Sinus Infection
Allergic sinusitis is sometimes confused with nonallergic sinusitis because they share a few symptoms, namely nasal-related ones such as a stuffy nose and postnatal drip.
Still, there are some telltale signs one is allergy-related sinusitis, and one is a sinus infection due to other causes.
Nasal allergy symptoms occur due to your immune systems reaction to certain allergens, such as pollen, dust, mold, or pet dander. People with nasal allergies are more likely to get sinus infections than people who dont have allergies.
But why? When allergies are poorly managed, nasal inflammation ensues, opening the door for more trouble.
If its a prolonged bout where the symptoms go on for several days, it often can lead to a sinus infection or something else because the inflammation in your sinuses makes it very hospitable for organisms, says Dr. Sullivan.
Most of the time, sinusitis stems from a virus, like the common cold. Additionally, it could be from bacteria or a fungus.
Anatomical factors such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum increase the risk and irritants such as spicy foods, perfume, smoke, barometric pressureand yes, seasonal allergiescan trigger sinusitis.
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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.
How Is Allergy A Risk Factor For Developing Sinusitis
Allergy can cause chronic inflammation of the sinus and mucus linings. This inflammation prevents the usual clearance of bacteria from the sinus cavity, increasing the chances of developing secondary bacterial sinusitis. If you test positive for allergies, your doctor can advise on appropriate measures and/or prescribe medications to control them, thereby reducing the risk of developing a sinus infection.
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What Are Sinuses Anyway
Your skull has four pairs of sinuses, or hollow spaces, called the paranasal sinuses. Your sinuses are lined with the same kind of tissue that lines the inside of your nose.
Did you know your sinuses have some pretty impressive functions? They help lighten the skull, warm and humidify the air you inhale, and give resonance to your voice. They even add shape to your face!
*FLONASE Allergy Relief is not indicated to treat these symptoms.
Allergies Vs Sinus Infections
It is not uncommon for different medical conditions to have similar symptoms. This is one of the many reasons why it can be problematic trying to determine what is troubling you through an online search engine . Instead, visiting your Murrieta doctor can give you a more accurate and correct diagnosis.
Allergies and sinus infections are often mistaken for each other. Below is a breakdown of how you can tell these two conditions apart.
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Why See An Allergist For A Sinus Infection
If you get sinus infections often, then it is important to identify the cause of the inflammation. Chronic sinusitis that is not treated can cause ear and upper and lower respiratory infections. When these infections start to interfere with your enjoyment of life, then its time to get help. An allergist is trained to identify allergy triggers that may be making your sinus infections occur more often. Our highly trained staff can help you find a solution that helps you take back control and live sinus infection-free.
Schedule an appointment at one of our local offices with a board-certified allergist to start a path to living without sinus infections.
What Are The Differences
Even though both conditions share similarities such as runny noses, nasal congestion, and sore throats, there are key differences that will help you better diagnose your condition.
Post nasal drip caused by allergies often have accompanying symptoms like sneezing, an itchy nose, and teary/itchy eyes. It is also a seasonal condition that most commonly affects children and young adults.
Post nasal drip induced by a sinus infection is when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen and inflamed by a virus or bacteria. Symptoms include facial pressure or pain around the nose, eyes, forehead and upper jaw. Mucus associated with a sinus infection is usually thicker, cloudy and can have a yellowish or greenish color to it. Sinus infections also may have lingering symptoms long after treatment such as a persistent cough and a sore throat.
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Can Sinus Infections Or Sinusitis Be Prevented
Currently, there are no vaccines designed specifically against infectious sinusitis or sinus infections. However, there are vaccines against viruses and bacteria that may cause some infectious sinusitis. Vaccination against pathogens known to cause infectious sinusitis may indirectly reduce or prevent the chance of getting the disease however, no specific studies support this assumption. Fungal vaccines against sinusitis are not available, currently.
If you are prone to recurrent bouts of a yearly sinus infection it may be important to consider allergy testing to see if this is the underlying cause of the recurring problem. Treatment of the allergy may prevent secondary bacterial sinus infections. In addition, sinus infections may be due to other problems such as nasal polyps, tumors, or diseases that obstruct normal mucus flow. Treatment of these underlying causes may prevent recurrent sinus infections.
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When To Seek Medical Care
See a doctor if you have:
- Severe symptoms, such as severe headache or facial pain.
- Symptoms that get worse after initially improving.
- Symptoms lasting more than 10 days without improvement.
- Fever longer than 3-4 days.
You should also seek medical care if you have had multiple sinus infections in the past year.
This list is not all-inclusive. Please see a doctor for any symptom that is severe or concerning.
Other conditions can cause symptoms similar to a sinus infection, including:
- Seasonal allergies
How Can I Stop A Sinus Infection From Allergies
But the following measures may help:
Colds And Allergies Are The Main Risk Factors For Developing Sinusitis
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.
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The Role Of Allergens
Things you are allergic to can cause all sorts of reactions in your body, but the primary reaction is inflammatory. Arizona allergies can be particularly nasty especially in combination with our dry air. Your bodys inflammatory response can result in mucus deposits becoming stagnant and promoting bacterial or viral growth inside your sinuses. This can cause many issues for you if it goes untreated.
Its important to know whether you have allergies or not and specifically what you are allergic to. This is where allergy testing plays an important role. Knowing what youre allergic to will help you find the right medicine , and can also help you avoid irritants in the future. Discovering the specific allergens or dander that causes you trouble plays a pivotal role in treating and preventing further sinus damage and irritation.
When Should I Call The Doctor
- a cold that lasts for more than 710 days without improvement
- a cold that seems to be getting worse after 7 days of symptoms
- symptoms of allergies that don’t clear with the usual allergy medicine
Also call if your child shows any other signs of worsening sinusitis, such as:
- pain or pressure in the cheeks or around the eyes
- swelling around the eye
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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.
Can Sinusitis Be Prevented
Simple changes in your lifestyle or home environment can help lower the risk of sinusitis. For example, during the winter, use a humidifier to keep home humidity at 45%50%. This will stop dry air from irritating the sinuses and make them less of a target for infection. Clean your humidifier often to prevent mold growth.
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Can Sinus Infections Be Prevented
Avoiding things that irritate your nose and sinuses can help decrease sinusitis. Cigarette smoke can make you especially prone to sinusitis. Smoking damages the natural protective elements of your nose, mouth, throat, and respiratory system.
Ask your doctor if you need help quitting or if interested in quitting. It can be an important step in preventing episodes of both acute and chronic sinusitis.
Wash your hands frequently, especially during cold and flu season, to keep your sinuses from becoming irritated or infected by viruses or bacteria on your hands.
Talk to your doctor to see if allergies are causing your sinusitis. If youre allergic to something that causes persistent sinus symptoms, you will likely need to treat your allergies.
You may need to seek an allergy specialist for allergic immunotherapy shots or similar treatments. Keeping your allergies under control can help prevent repeated episodes of sinusitis.
Its common for children to have allergies and to be prone to infections in the nose and ears.
Your child may have a sinus infection if they have the following symptoms:
- a cold that lasts over 7 days with fever
- swelling around eyes
See your childs doctor to determine the best course of treatment for your child. Nasal sprays, saline sprays, and pain relief are all effective treatments for acute sinusitis.
Do not give over-the-counter cough or cold medicines or decongestants to your child if theyre under 2 years old.
How Do Allergy Shots Work
Rather than treating the symptoms of allergies,allergy shots work to eliminate future allergic reactions to specific substances or environmental triggers. Much like a vaccine, allergen immunotherapy slowly introduces your body to very small doses of an allergen, stimulating the immune system. Each time you receive an allergy shot, the dosage will be a little bit higher, thus re-training your immune system to tolerate the allergen.
Most patients experience relief from chronic sinusitis symptoms with the first few months of treatment for long term relief from recurring sinus infections, most allergy specialists recommend that patients maintain an immunotherapy regimen for 3 to 5 years.
Have questions about sinus issues and how you can find relief?Contact us today!
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So What Is The Difference Between Allergies And A Sinus Infection
In order for your Murrieta doctor to determine what you are suffering from, they will review your symptoms and perform a physical exam. There are two telling questions your doctor can use to differentiate between the conditions:
Do you have a headache, pressure or pain in the face and chronic fatigue?
Do you have watery or itchy eyes?
Pain and pressure in the face is the telltale sign of a sinus infection, while itchy, water eyes are most often a symptom of allergies.
You may be asking yourself why its so important for your Murrieta doctor to make the distinction between the two since many of their symptoms overlap. The reason is because the diagnosis affects the treatment plan.
Allergies are treated with antihistamines, decongestants and nasal or oral corticosteroids. For those looking for a longer-term treatment solution, they should talk to their Murrieta allergist about immunotherapy.
Sinus infection treatments depend on the severity of your symptoms. Saline nasal sprays and corticosteroids can be used to rinse out your nasal passage, relieving the inflammation. Decongestants are useful for short-term relief excessive use of these drugs can actually worsen the symptoms. Antibiotics will be prescribed if you are suffering from a bacterial infection.
Experiencing any of these symptoms? Now is the time to do something about it. Contact your local Murrieta doctor to schedule an appointment today.
What Causes Sinus Infections
Sinus infections are the result of inflammation of the nasal and sinus passages, usually caused by a virus or allergies. This inflammation causes fluid to become trapped, so it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria.
Symptoms of a sinus infection include:
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Facial pain/tenderness
- Inability to clear mucus by blowing the nose
- Tooth pain.
- Bad breath
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Is The Sinus Infection A Virus Or A Bacteria
Virus or bacteria? The first thing to realize is that all sinus infections are not the same. A sinus infection, a.k.a. sinusitis, can be either a viral or bacterial infection. The term sinusitis simply means that theres irritation in your sinuses, which make up the lining around the air spaces between bones that surround your nose.
When Things Get Chronic
If youve had a sinus infection and suffered from inflammation for three months or more, you may have chronic sinusitis. This can lead to scarring, and can actually trigger pain and problems in your ear and upper jaw.
To avoid developing chronic sinusitis, take care to:
- Avoid people with colds
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Allergies And Sinus: Whats The Difference
There is a lot of confusion between sinus and allergy symptoms, so to understand the major symptoms below is a list which will help you to determine if you are suffering from allergies or a sinus infection.
Major symptoms of allergies
- Nasal Discharge: Clear, thin, watery
- Fever: No
- Pain in upper teeth: No
- Bad breath: No
- Duration of illness: Over 10-14 days
- Nasal Discharge: Thick, yellow-green
- Pain in upper teeth: Sometimes
- Bad breath: Sometimes
- Sneezing: No
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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Inhale Menthol And Camphor
Another inhaled odor that can help open up sinus passages is menthol, which is an ingredient in popular ointments that are used specifically to treat a stuffy nose. These ointments also contain eucalyptus oil and camphor, which combine with menthol to create a powerful scent that immediately relieves sinus pressure. This ointment can be rubbed on your chest and under your nose to deliver its soothing benefits. Unlike eucalyptus oil, this ointment should not be placed in the mouth.
Signs And Symptoms Of Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis
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Whats The Difference Between Allergies And A Sinus Infection
Sinus infections plague 31 million Americans every year. More than 50 million have some type of allergy. The symptoms of both are similar, so it can be hard to know if youre sneezing and have a headache from an infection or an allergic response. How can you tell the difference between allergies and a sinus infection?
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says that allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. today. Indoor and outdoor allergies cause sinus swelling, itching, runny nose, and a host of other symptoms caused from:
- Rodent dander
- Tree, grass, or weed pollen
An allergic response is triggered when your immune system overreacts to a foreign substance. It could be something youve consumed, touched, or just breathed in. Youll experience a scratchy throat, itchy eyes, coughing and sneezing, and, if the reaction is severe, asthma, rashes, low blood pressure, and even death. There is no cure for allergies but they can be treated by your doctor.
Rhinosinusitis , or a sinus infection, happens when your sinuses become swollen, inflamed, and infected. A virus is the usual culprit, although bacteria or fungus can sometimes be the cause. However, common allergies can even lead to a sinus infection.
Both illnesses can make you feel awful, but they arent the same thing, and shouldnt be treated in the same way.