Allergies vs Sinus Infection: How to Spot the Difference

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Allergies vs Sinus Infection

Allergic rhinitis, aka hay fever, affects up to 30 percent of all adults in the United States. Common symptoms include an itchy nose, itchy eyes, coughing, sneezing, and headache.Lets find out the difference Allergies vs Sinus Infection:-

Not only that, but it can also cause nasal congestion, something that’s often seen in those with sinus infections.

Are you experiencing symptoms? Wondering if it’s allergies or a sinus problem? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ll be going over the differences between the two conditions below. Keep reading for an allergies vs sinus infection guide!

What Causes Allergies?

Allergic rhinitis occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air. This causes the body to produce histamine, a chemical that’s involved in the inflammatory response.

More specifically, it’ll dilate the small blood vessels of the nose and cause fluid to leak out into the surrounding tissues. Ultimately, it’s this process that causes the various allergy symptoms.

As it is, there are two types of allergic rhinitis—perennial and seasonal. Perennial allergies tend to occur year-round while seasonal allergies usually occur during the spring and fall.

Some common allergens include mold, grass pollen, dust mites, and animal dander.

What Causes Sinus Infections?

Sinusitis occurs when one or more of the nasal passages becomes inflamed and fluid builds up. Common sinus infection symptoms include postnasal drip, cough, nasal discharge, congestion, and facial pain.

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More often than not, it’s caused by bacteria—more specifically, Streptococcus pneumonia, Haemophilus influenzae, or Moraxella catarrhalis.

With that said, it can also be due to a virus. For example, it can be caused by the rhinovirus, influenza virus, or parainfluenza virus. The good news is that viral sinus infections tend to improve faster (5-7 days) than their bacterial counterparts (7-10 days).

Note: The condition can be classified as acute (< 4 weeks) or chronic (> 3 months), depending on the frequency of sinus infections.

Allergies vs Sinus Infection: The Main Difference

Allergies tend to cause itchiness due to the release of histamine. Sinus infections, on the other hand, tend to cause facial pain—this occurs when the nasal cavities become swollen and inflamed.

For example, it’s not uncommon for sinus infections to cause pain and pressure behind the eye and cheek areas. Not only that, but they can also cause thick, discolored mucus and bad breath, two things that are rarely seen in those with allergies.

Finally, the way you treat the conditions is also different. Generally speaking, allergies are treated with antihistamines while sinus infections are treated with antibiotics (assuming that the infection is bacteria-related).

Understanding the Difference Between the Two Conditions

As you can see, there are different things to look for when comparing allergies vs sinus infection. When in doubt, visit your doctor—they’ll be able to diagnose and treat the problem!

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