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Do I Have a Sinus Infection or Allergies?

We’ve all been there before — a stuffy nose or a scratchy throat that lasts for more than just a few days is uncomfortable, but is it just allergies? Or is it something more?

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. is allergies, affecting over 50 million people per year. With that many stuffy noses, many are left wondering whether they are experiencing their usual allergies or if they actually have a sinus infection. In some cases, you may have both!

Is it Allergies?

An allergy is a response your immune system creates when it comes into contact with foreign substances, or allergens. Particles like pollen, dust, and mold may cause allergies for some people. When an allergy occurs, it is not uncommon to experience inflamed sinuses which keeps mucus from being able to drain properly, potentially causing an infection called sinusitis.

Symptoms of allergies can include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Difficulty breathing, or wheezing.

Do I Have Sinusitis?

As mentioned above, a sinus infection or sinusitis occurs when the inflammation of your sinuses allows the growth of germs. While a sinus infection is usually caused by allergies, it can result from other factors, too.

Common factors besides allergies that increase the risk of sinusitis include:

  • Colds.
  • Smoking.
  • A weakened immune system.

Since allergies can lead to sinusitis, the tell-tale signs of each tend to overlap. However, as sinusitis persists, the symptoms become more serious.

People with sinusitis tend to have:

  • Thick and oddly colored mucus.
  • Headaches and pain around the face.
  • Cough or sore throat.
  • Fever.
  • Mucus moving from the nose to your throat, also known as post-nasal drip.

If you suffer from allergies or have a sinus infection, you may be able to treat it at home with decongestants, either oral or nasal, and anti-inflammatory medication. These can soothe a stuffy nose and inflamed sinuses. If your sinus infection is a result of bacteria, a doctor may recommend antibiotics.

How Can I Keep My Allergies at Bay?

To prevent your allergies from worsening to something more serious (like sinusitis), you'll want to keep these tips in mind:

Take allergy medication.

Don't wait for your symptoms to worsen; before peak allergy season begins, start taking over-the-counter allergy medication.

Pay attention to pollen counts.

Pollen can severely agitate your allergies. So before you start opening all your windows, check the pollen counts.

Avoid outdoor activities in the morning.

Pollen counts tend to be highest first thing in the morning when plants begin to react to sunlight. If possible, plan your time outdoors later in the day, depending on your local pollen count.

Do some deep (or spring) cleaning.

Dirt and dust may have had a field day in your home this winter. Make sure you do a deep clean to remove as much dust and pollen that have been collecting within your home. Tip: try rearranging your furniture to clean the hard-to-reach places.

Regularly bathe your furry friends.

Even a hypoallergenic pet may still have allergens on its skin! In addition to washing your pups, make sure to clean their toys, especially if they bring them outside.

Making it Through Allergy Season with Superior Urgent Care

If your allergies or sinusitis persists, the team at Superior Urgent Care is here to provide you with the high-quality healthcare you need to conquer seasonal illnesses. Since 2017, we have treated patients with sinus-related pain and inflammation with the highest standard in modern urgent care services.

Call our offices at (817) 567-2926 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today.
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