Allergies and sinusitis are two conditions that can cause many similar symptoms. However, they are not the same, and knowing the difference between the two is essential to obtaining proper treatment and getting back to feeling your best.
Symptoms and Differences
There is overlap in symptoms between the two conditions, including:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
There are also several differences that can help distinguish between the two. If it’s allergies, you are more likely to experience itchy, watery eyes and frequent sneezing.
With sinusitis you are more likely to experience:
- Pain and swelling around forehead, eyes and cheeks
- Post-nasal drip
- Cough or sore throat
- Loss of smell
- Low-grade fever
Sinusitis can be acute, meaning it clears up within a couple of weeks. However, chronic sinusitis occurs in roughly 1-5% of the U.S. population. Symptoms can last for months and significantly impact your quality of life.
Can Allergies Cause Sinusitis?
Sinusitis can be caused by a variety of things including respiratory viruses, nasal polyps, a deviated septum and in some cases, allergies.
Though this might be confusing, they are still two separate conditions. Allergies occur as an immune response your body produces to certain triggers, like pollen or pet dander. Sinusitis occurs when your nasal passages are infected.
While treating your allergies might help prevent sinusitis, allergy treatments won’t get rid of existing infections.
Allergies can sometimes be treated by over-the-counter antihistamines or decongestants. However, if your symptoms don’t respond, you should visit your doctor. They can help determine whether or not you are dealing with allergies or sinusitis and recommend the next steps.
They may refer you to an allergist to help confirm your triggers and see if you may benefit from prescription allergy treatments.
If you are experiencing sinusitis caused by a virus, you may just need to take it easy for a few days and get plenty of rest and hydration until your symptoms improve. If you experience chronic sinusitis, more intensive therapies like corticosteroids or even sinus surgery may be required.
If you are concerned about frequent nasal congestion and other symptoms, call Pinnacle ENT today to schedule an appointment with one of our experts.