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What Is The Difference Between Sinus And Allergies

How Severe Are The Symptoms

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

Most sinus infections go away on their own without severe symptoms or complications. If a sinus infection is caused by bacteria, you may need antibiotics.

Many cases of COVID-19 may be mild or moderate. The World Health Organization estimates that

Heres what to do next whether you think that you have a sinus infection or COVID-19.

Similarities Between Allergy Sinus And Covid

The similarities between symptoms of allergies, sinusitis, and COVID-19 can easily cause concern, especially if a patient is experiencing just one or two symptoms on the list of overlap. Certain links do exist between symptoms, but slight nuances between the type and likelihood of symptoms can help determine which cause is most likely.

Symptoms that can appear with allergies, sinus issues, or coronavirus include:

  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • dry cough

If a person is only experiencing symptoms in the list above, it can be tougher to determine what is causing them. Patients should consider the activities taking place before the start of their symptoms and whether anything worsened the symptoms, such as pollen, pets, sleeping, or physical activity. If allergies are suspected as the cause, try taking allergy medications such as antihistamines, to see whether this relieves the symptoms.

Keep in mind that allergies or sinus issues and COVID-19 can exist at the same time. You may still want to see a doctor and be tested for coronavirus if you are experiencing any of the symptoms that indicate a virus is likely, such as fever combined with cough, or if your symptoms are more severe than your normal allergy symptoms.

If the source of symptoms is still unclear, or if you may have been exposed to the virus, it is recommended to get tested for COVID-19.

Can Allergies Cause Sinus Pressure

High pollen counts, dust mites and even your neighbors cat can flare up your allergies and have you begging for allergy relief. But as time passes, you might notice those allergy symptoms becoming more severe. Learn how your allergies can cause sinus pain and congestion, and what steps you can take to relieve sinus and allergy symptoms.

Also Check: Can You Drink After Taking Allergy Medicine

Can An Ent Specialist Help With My Symptoms

An ENT specialist focuses on the ear, nose, and throat, which includes your sinuses.

These experts will do a thorough review of your medical history and perform an exam.

The specialist may order you a CT scan to see whats going on in your sinus cavity and to look for any abnormalities.

Depending on the results, surgery may be needed to correct structural problems in your sinuses. This is most likely to happen if you have polyps and/or fungal infection.

ENT providers are a great resource for chronic sinus infections and allergies.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, deciding whether you have a sinus infection, allergies, or both can be quite the challenge. Luckily there are plenty of resources and options available to you.

However, if you are still on the fence, please consult a medical professional.

If you still have questions, check out these frequently asked questions!

When Are My Symptoms Considered Allergies

Difference Between Sinus and Allergies

Seasonal allergies are typically easy to determine if symptoms begin or worsen at the onset of spring or fall. These allergies are usually caused by pollen and mold spores released from flowering plants, grasses or ragweed. Symptoms of an allergy attack include congestion, clear nasal discharge, sneezing, itchy eyes, watery eyes, or a scratchy throat. Our ENT allergy specialists offer allergy evaluations and treatments, like sublingual immunotherapy . Please contact us if youre interested in learning more about our allergy services.

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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.

Concerned It Could Be Covid

If you think you have COVID-19, there are a couple steps you should take to make sure you get the right care and keep others safe.

  • Stay home COVID-19 is very contagious. So if youre noticing COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and try to separate yourself from other members of your household to help prevent the disease from spreading.
  • We have a team of nurses standing by 24/7 to answer any questions you might have, and to help you decide what type of care you may need. HealthPartners patients can call . Park Nicollet patients can call their clinic directly, or if its after hours.
  • Get care and treatment from home Our virtual care options make it safe and easy for you to get the right treatment. You can choose a video visit with a doctor, or a Virtuwell visit with a certified nurse practitioner. If COVID-19 is suspected, your doctor or nurse practitioner will help you find a COVID-19 testing location near you. If your symptoms point to a different condition, youll receive a custom treatment plan.
  • Get tested Getting tested is the only way to know for sure if you have COVID-19. People often speak with a doctor or nurse practitioner before getting tested, but its not a requirement. You can schedule your own COVID-19 test at one of our convenient drive-up sites.

Choose your care option

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Allergies Vs Sinus Infection

Allergies can develop at any point in your life. While allergies tend to come up during childhood, its possible to develop allergies to new substances as an adult.

This type of reaction is caused by a negative response to a substance. Your immune system responds by releasing a chemical called histamine, which can then cause symptoms such as headache, sneezing, and congestion. Its also possible to feel foggy and develop a skin rash.

Severe allergies can lead to a cold-like condition called allergic rhinitis. With allergic rhinitis, you can have the above symptoms as well as itchy eyes. This itchiness is one of the key distinguishing factors between allergies and sinusitis.

A sinus infection, on the other hand, occurs when your nasal passages become inflamed. Sinusitis is most often caused by viruses. When the nasal cavity gets inflamed, mucus builds up and gets stuck, further compounding the problem.

Along with nasal congestion and headache, sinusitis causes pain around your cheeks and eyes. Sinus infections also cause thick, discolored mucus, and bad breath.

Compare the following symptoms to see if you have allergies or a possible sinus infection. Its also possible to have both conditions at the same time.


How Is Sinus Infection Diagnosed

Whatâs the Difference Between Allergies, a Common Cold, and a Sinus Infection?

Diagnosis depends on symptoms and requires an examination of the throat, nose and sinuses. Your allergist will look for:

  • Redness
  • 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 â allergic fungal sinus infection, for example â do not respond to antifungal agents and often require the use of oral steroids.

Also Check: What’s The Best Antihistamine For Allergies

What Is Sinus Infection

Sinus infection does not require a stage or time to happen. It simply happens when the nasal passage becomes inflamed. Most of the time, the sinus infection is caused by an external virus. When this happens, the nasal cavity inflames, and the mucus builds up even more and gets stuck, and this further elaborates the problem even more.

Symptoms of sinus infection are headache, congestion in the nasal cavity, pain in and around the cheeks and eyes. Another major symptom of sinus infection is thick and discolored mucus and problems in breathing. The sinus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics. You will have to take a full prescription as told by your doctor even if you start feeling better in a while.

Difference Between Allergies And Sinus Infection

Allergies and sinus infection that is often also called sinusitis, are two major different things. People might take both of them as similar ones, but there are some major differences between the two. In simple words, allergies are something or happens when few things are irritants for ones body.

In the same way, allergies occur as the immune system of the person reacts to those irritants and allergens as they are not suitable for the persons body. While the other one is a sinus infection is caused in the body because of some bacteria or viral.

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What Is The Treatment For Sinus Infections And Allergies

Sinus Infection

Viral sinusitis

Antibiotics are not necessary for sinusitis caused by a virus. Frequently recommended treatments include pain and fever medications, for example:

  • Decongestants and mucolytics disolves are medications that dissolve or breakdown mucous, for example, guaifenesin.

Bacterial sinusitis

Bacterial infection of the sinuses is suspected when facial pain, nasal discharge resembling pus, and other symptoms last longer than a week, and are not responding to over-the-counter nasal medications.

Acute sinus bacterial infection usually is treated with antibiotics aimed at treating the most common bacteria known to cause sinus infection. It is unusual to get a reliable culture without aspirating the sinuses.

The five most common bacteria causing sinus infections are:

If you don’t improve after five days of taking the antibiotic, contact your doctor because he may want to switch antibiotics to one of the five listed above or amoxicillin-clavulanate .

Generally, an effective antibiotic needs to be continuously for a minimum of 10-14 days. However, it is not unusual to treat sinus infections for 14-21 days.

Some antibiotics now are thought to reduce inflammation, independent of the anitbacterial activity.


The first-generation antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine , chlorpheniramine , dimenhydrinate , brompheniramine , clemastine fumarate , and dexbrompheniramine frequently cause mouth dryness and sleepiness as side effects.

How To Tell The Difference Between Allergy And Covid

Pin on Sinusitis Wellness

While both COVID-19 and seasonal allergies affect the respiratory system, they are different in how they affect the body.

Allergies are an immune response following an exposure to certain allergens such as mold or tree pollen. COVID-19 is a virus that your body is trying to fight off this is hard work. And while COVID-19 symptoms may not be severe on their own, they are more severe when compared to typical allergy symptoms.

Here are the biggest differences between allergies and COVID-19.

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How Is Sinusitis Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider will ask you a lot of questions in order to develop a detailed medical history and find out about your symptoms. They will also do a physical examination. During the exam, your care provider will check your ears, nose and throat for any swelling, draining or blockage. An endoscope may be used to look inside the nose. In some cases, you might be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist. If you needed an imaging exam, your provider would order a computed tomography scan.

Loss Of Taste Or Smell

While allergies and sinus infections often cause congestion, which can affect taste or smell, the COVID-19 virus has been strongly associated with patients experiencing symptoms of total loss or sudden change in smell or taste. This symptom has been experienced even by those who had no other obvious symptoms.

Also Check: Can Pollen Allergies Cause Fever

Sinus & Allergies Vs Coronavirus: Do I Have Sinus & Allergy Symptoms Or Covid

January 20, 2021 Written by: Michael Menachof Categories: Allergy, Sinus

Dr. Menachof, MD, has specialized in conditions around the head, throat, ear, nose, neck and face for over 20 years, and was the first to bring sublingual allergy drops to Colorado in 2005. He has been recognized as a Fellow by multiple academies, named one of Americas Top Facial Plastic Surgeons continually since 2003 and is featured in multiple national publications.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every person in one way or another. Many people are concerned for their health in the face of COVID-19 and scientists are still learning about the behavior of this novel disease. The virus spreads rapidly and is most frequently contracted by breathing or absorbing tiny water droplets containing the virus through the nose and mouth.

While COVID-19 has been primarily categorized as a respiratory disease, the virus can present itself in ways that appear similar to symptoms of allergies, sinus issues, or a common cold. Despite similarities in certain symptoms, there are important differences between COVID-19 symptoms vs allergies vs sinus symptoms that can help patients determine which may be causing their discomfort.

Please note: This blog is not intended as medical advice or instruction. Anyone experiencing possible COVID symptoms should contact their doctor or medical professional to discuss symptoms and testing.

How Can An Ent Help With My Allergies Or Sinus Infection

Difference Between Allergies, Colds & Sinus Infections

An ENT specialist, or otolaryngologist, has special training in the diagnosis and treatment protocols for a variety of disorders of the head, neck and face. From simple sinusitis and allergies to surgical correction of physical deformities of the sinuses, voice disorders, or problems with the thyroidto name just a few of the conditions your otolaryngologist is trained to treat.

Allergies are a common problem, and, when they are chronic, they can lead to debilitating symptoms. Dr. Dobson says her goal is to, Work on the allergies, get the symptoms under control, decrease the frequency of the flare ups, and get you feeling better.

If you experience any of these symptoms that last more than 10 days, its more than time to see your doctor:

  • Balance or dizziness issues
  • Hearing loss or stuffy ears
  • Hoarseness or other voice issues
  • Pain in your ears, face, or teeth
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Recurring adenoid, ear, or tonsil infections
  • Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
  • Trouble swallowing

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Are There Different Treatments For Allergies Vs A Sinus Infection

Yes, the treatments for allergies are different from a sinus infection, but its easy to confuse the two illnesses because the symptoms they cause are so similar. For example:

Unable to blow your nose X

Dr. Dobson comments, One of the things that I hear over and over from patients is that they have these terrible sinus infections and I think a lot of times that they seem to underplay or not fully realize the role that the allergies are playing in their sinus complaints.

Determining the underlying cause of these symptoms is important because if you have allergies and theyre treated with an antibiotic, it wont solve the underlying issues causing all of your symptoms.

If you have severe stuffiness related to either allergies or a sinus infection, the symptoms can be lessened with an over-the-counter or prescription decongestant. Common allergy treatments can also include antihistamines that block the immune system response.

However, allergy medications will not eliminate the sinus infection. The first step is to understand whether the sinus infection is viral or bacterial. If your doctor believes the sinus infection is viral, you should:

  • Drink clear fluids such as broth or water
  • Rest as much as possible
  • Take over-the-counter or prescription medicines to alleviate symptoms
  • Use a saline spray to rehydrate your nasal passages

Sinus Infection Vs Allergy Attack

A sinus infection typically comes on more abruptly, has symptoms isolated to the nose and throat, typically has discolored nasal drainage, and has a course of days. It tends to resolve with antibiotics as well.

An allergy attack comes with two phases during the same season each year. Initially an acute attack consists of watery nasal drainage, frequently with itchy eyes, sneezing, and clear drainage. The second phase is mainly congestion and sinus pressure and can last for weeks or the duration of the season. It usually will not improve with antibiotics.

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Allergies Or A Sinus Infection Major Symptoms And Differences

You have a stuffy nose, you know it is cold but which one is it Sinusitis or allergies? Allergies and sinus infections are two separate conditions, but by paying close attention to the specific conditions you can usually identify which one is more likely to be causing the problem.


Common Symptoms Of Colds Sinus Infections And Allergies

Sinusitis vs allergies

Many people have been told that the following symptoms are signs of a bacterial sinus infection as opposed to a cold:

  • Facial pain and headache
  • Discolored mucus or sinus drainage
  • Severe nasal congestion
  • Fever

But in reality, these symptoms dont help us distinguish one condition from the other, at least in the first week to 10 days. Generally speaking, all of the classic symptoms of a sinus infection can be present in a cold.

If youve had these symptoms for fewer than seven to 10 days, theyre almost certainly signs of a cold virus. When people have these symptoms for more than seven to 10 days without improvement, thats when we start thinking it might be a bacterial sinus infection. It is also very unusual for a cold, or other viral upper respiratory illness, to worsen after five days. This suggests a transition to a bacterial process. This is important because antibiotics should only be used when a bacterial process is suspected.

The symptoms of allergies dont normally include fever or a lot of discolored sinus drainage. Classic allergy symptoms may include:

  • Cough
  • Scratchy or low-grade sore throat
  • Sneezing

Some of these are similar to cold or sinus symptoms. The difference is that allergy symptoms dont follow the course of a cold, which runs through its symptoms as the cold progresses. Allergy symptoms are more consistent than cold symptoms. There is often a pattern to the symptoms related to a change in the indoor or outdoor environment .

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