Ashford Clinic Blog
Is it Allergies or a Sinus Infection?
Not sure what's causing that stuffy nose? It's not uncommon for most people to say "It's just allergies" without understanding what that actually means. There is a lot of confusion about the difference between allergies and sinusitis (sinus infections), and while there is some overlap in symptoms, these are two different conditions and treatment can be very different for each.
Symptoms (sneezing, runny nose, wheezing, itchy or watery eyes) arise soon after you come in contact with allergens, things you are allergic to, which could include pollen, mold, dust mites, pet dander, and more. The symptoms will persist as long as you are around those triggers, which can occur seasonally or year-round. Treatment can include antihistamines, decongestants, and corticosteroids - though more precise treatment like allergy testing and allergy drops are a more lasting solution.
Sinus infections occur because of a cold or allergies, although sometimes (but not often) they are caused by bacteria. In addition to the stuffy nose, you may experience thick, colored mucus, painful or swollen feeling around the forehead, eyes, and cheeks, post-nasal drip, cough and sore throat, bad breath, light fever, and fatigue. Antihistamines and decongestants may help, but antibiotics may be required if the infection is caused by bacteria. If your sinusitis is chronic (symptoms persisting for 3 months or longer), a minimally invasive procedure called Balloon Sinuplasty can provide lasting relief with minimal recovery.
In either case, you should seek medical attention to know exactly what you're up against. Ashford Clinic can help with all of your ENT needs.