Sinus infections and allergic reactions to dust, pollen and similar pollutants have a few symptoms in common, making it hard to determine which one you have.
Symptoms of Allergies
Allergies to outdoor allergens, such as ragweed, pollen, or dust can cause a condition known as allergic rhinitis. This occurs if your body’s immune system designates these allergens as harmful and tries to destroy them. When you’re exposed to these allergens again, your body will react the same way, which causes allergy symptoms. Common signs of allergies include the following:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose with clear discharge
- Itchy or watery eyes
If you have allergies, your symptoms usually occur any time you’re exposed to allergy triggers. For example, you might have symptoms that last throughout the spring and summer if you have seasonal allergies. If your allergy symptoms are causing you considerable discomfort or interfering with your day-to-day activities, you should seek medical care.
Symptoms of Sinus Infections
Sinus infections occur when your sinuses become inflamed from a virus or bacteria. Other conditions, such as a deviated septum or polyps, can also cause these infections. Your sinuses are empty spaces in your skull that make the air you breathe moist and warm. They’re located above your eyes and next to your nose on both sides. If you have a sinus infection, you might experience the following symptoms:
- Pressure and soreness in and around your sinuses
- Thick, yellow or green mucus in your nose
- Reduced sense of smell
- Reduced sense of taste
- Swelling around your sinus areas, such as your eyes and nose
- Bad breath
If you have a sinus infection, you might have symptoms for up to one week or more. If your symptoms last longer than this, you should seek medical care in case you have a bacterial sinus infection. Keep in mind that allergies can sometimes end up causing sinus infections.
Treatments for Allergies
If you’re diagnosed with allergies, taking over-the-counter products can provide you with short-term relief from allergy symptoms, such as sneezing and itching. You can also look into other forms of treatment, such as allergy shots.
Treatments for Sinus Infections
If you have a sinus infection, you can use over-the-counter products to ease your symptoms, such as sinus pressure and nasal congestion. Putting moist heat on your face can also help relieve symptoms. Viral infections typically clear up on their own, but you’ll need antibiotics to clear up a bacterial sinus infection.
Avoiding allergy triggers is the most effective way to prevent allergic reactions. You can also cut down on allergy symptoms by dusting and vacuuming frequently, staying inside on days when pollen or ragweed counts are high and running your air conditioner instead of opening your windows.
Sinus Infection Prevention
You can reduce your risk of having a bacterial sinus infection by taking over-the-counter products to relieve nasal congestion, avoid smoking, or use a humidifier to breathe moist rather than dry air.
To learn more about your allergy or sinus infection symptoms, please contact Boulevard Medical Healthcare to schedule an appointment and determine a customized treatment plan.