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 (cough WebMD cough). 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.
Hay fever, also known as seasonal allergies, is a condition in which your nasal passages become swollen and inflamed. Symptoms are caused by your immune system’s response to pollen from trees, grasses and weeds; dust mites; mold and fungi spores and smoke or pollution.
The most common symptoms of seasonal allergies include:
- Watery eyes
- Itchiness (nose, throat and eyes)
- Runny/stuffy nose
- Sinus pain and pressure
- Sinus Infection
Sinusitis, or known more simply as a sinus infection, is an inflammation and swelling of the tissues that line the sinuses. This inflammation interferes with normal mucus drainage, leading to breathing difficulties, pain and pressure.
A sinus infection is usually caused by a cold or allergies but may be the result of a number of things such as nasal polyps, a deviated septum, trauma to the face, hay fever, complications from immune system disorders or tumors.
The most common symptoms of a sinus infection include:
- Nasal congestion and discharge
- Postnasal drip
- Sore throat
- Facial pressure and swelling
- Loss of smell and taste
- Bad breath
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 it’s 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.