Allergies & Sinusitis: What’s the Difference?

11.16.2016

sneezing caused by allergies or sinusitisStuffy nose, facial pressure, coughing, watery eyes … when uncomfortable symptoms strike, it can be difficult to know whether they are caused by allergies or sinusitis (also known as a sinus infection). Here RediClinic explains the difference between the two types of inflammation.

Allergic Rhinitis and Its Causes

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is inflammation caused by an allergic response to indoor or outdoor allergens. The most common cause of allergic rhinitis is pollen released into the air by trees, grasses and other plants. Because pollen is inhaled, the allergic reaction will most likely affect the eyes, nose and lungs. Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include nasal congestion, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, runny nose, cough and sore throat. For some people, symptoms are more severe and include shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, chronic fatigue and headaches.

Certain people suffer from allergic rhinitis year-round, while for others, symptoms get worse at the time of the year when their allergen peaks.

Sinusitis and Its Causes

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses usually caused by a bacterial infection. Sinuses are small, hollow cavities within the cheekbones, forehead and behind the nose. They produce mucus which drains into the nose through small channels. When this drainage process is blocked by inflammation and air from the nose cannot enter the sinuses, an infection can occur. This causes mucus and pus to build up in the nose and sinus cavities.

The risk for developing chronic sinusitis increases if you have allergies. This is because the nasal inflammation caused by seasonal allergies can block drainage of the sinus channels, creating a place for bacteria to grow and cause infection.

Acute sinusitis lasts for up to four weeks. A case of sinusitis that lasts eight weeks or longer is known as chronic sinusitis. Symptoms are similar in both cases and include nasal stuffiness and discharge, sinus pressure, loss of smell, headache, a cough which may worsen at night, fever, fatigue, toothache, sore throat and bad breath.

Find Relief Today at RediClinic

RediClinic offers prompt and professional treatment of both seasonal allergy symptoms and sinusitis. By addressing symptoms of seasonal allergies, you may also prevent the development of chronic sinusitis. Our board-certified clinicians are available at your convenience, seven days a week, for high-quality, affordable healthcare. Make an online appointment or walk in today!