Allergies or Sinus Infection

With allergies getting common, we often neglect them and let them go away on their own. But, what we don’t know is that we might be suffering from a severe case of sinus infection. It’s not that we have judged the symptoms wrong; it is because allergies or sinus infection project the same symptoms-- runny nose, pain, fatigue and sensory troubles. According to a survey done by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the patients find it hard to distinct them both. Additionally, researches took an online survey of over 600 asthma and allergy patients to conclude that more than 50% weren’t aware of their budding sinus infection, taking them to be a severe and prolonged case of allergies.

How to Tell If It Is Allergies or Sinus Infection

Differing allergies and sinus infection from each other can be really troublesome because their almost similar signs and symptoms. But, knowing following points can help:

1. Know the Symptomatic Differences

Although they have similar symptoms, there are still many symptomatic differences that can help you tell them apart.

Facial pressures and pain

It is the most important factor that singles out sinus infection from allergies. In allergies, the facial pressures and pain are almost negligible when compared to that of sinus infections. In sinus infection, one feels pressure and pain in the nose, cheeks, forehead and upper jaw, which occasionally spreads to inner ear. Researchers state that the headache of a sinus infection worsens with passing days.

Fever, Body Aches, Nausea

A spot-on symptom, which tells whether you are suffering from allergies or sinus infection. It has been found out that only sinus infections are responsible for causing fever and body aches with added lack of appetite or nausea. The patient tends to feel more fatigued and sick while suffering from sinus infection when compared to seasonal allergies.


Different types of itches indicate different diseases, but an itchy nose and congestion in the nasal area projects allergic rhinitis or hay fever, rather than sinus infection.

Other Symptoms

There are various other symptoms that are different in both allergies and sinus infection. While in seasonal allergies one may experience bouts of cough and dark circles under the eyes, a patient suffering from sinus infection may not have them. But sinus infection causes muscle ache and a high temperature, often above 101.5˚F. So, you can tell whether it is allergies or sinus infection, if you notice the referred differences.

2. Know Their Different Causes

Allergies: Allergies are caused by a counter-action of our immune system against the entry of any foreign object in our body like dust, pollens, etc. The antibodies produced by our immune system to fight against these unwanted substances helps in reducing allergies and protect us from getting sick.

Sinus Infection: Sinusitis is a specific term highlighting inflammation of the tissue inside the sinuses. The normal void ducts of sinus, when filled with fluid, can cause cultivation of many germs such as virus, bacteria, fungi, thus paving way for an infection. There are several other reasons that lead to sinus blockage including common cold, allergic rhinitis, nasal polyps or even a deviated septum.

3. Know Their Different Duration

Allergies: The onset of allergies is almost sudden when exposed to allergens and the symptoms can bother you for half a year if you have seasonal allergies. If you are diagnosed with indoor allergies, you may have to endure symptoms year-long. The duration of the allergies totally depends upon your type of allergy, treatment or your exposure to the allergen.

Sinus infections: There are four different types of sinus infections. Acute sinusitis starts in a blink and normally has a time period of 4 weeks or even more; the subacute sinusitis may last for 4-8 weeks; chronic sinusitis has duration of 8 or more weeks; and recurrent sinusitis, as the name suggests, will re-occur several times in a year. Sinus infections have a tendency to clear up on their own, but in extreme re-occurrences, you might need to see ENT and get some antibiotics.

How to Treat Allergies or Sinus Infections

Referring to the above points, you may have come to know about your kind of disease. But that leaves you with the "hows" and "whys" of proper and accurate treatment. Here are some of the treatment options:

For Allergies

As nasal allergies cause troubles in the whole respiratory system, it is really important to treat them effectively.

  • Keep a tab on your allergic triggers and try to avoid getting exposed to them as far as possible.
  • Get in touch with a good physician and they may prescribe you with a generic version of the antihistamines fexofenadine, cetirizine or loratadine, commonly named Allegra, Zyrtec and Claritin.
  • Steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase and Nasonex helps as an instant relief in such allergies.
  • If drugs aren’t helping with your treatment, you can get allergy shorts of immunotherapy, which is uncommon but highly effective.

For Sinusitis

For an accurate treatment of sinusitis, never rush for the antibiotics as the infection is usually a virus inflected one, not from bacteria. In an addition, these drugs even risky more often than not, causing rashes, diarrhoea, stomach ache. Also, excessive use of antibiotics in the system paves way for an uncontrolled cultivation of bacteria.

  • If you are suffering from sinusitis, you should rather take full rest.
  • Take up a good dosage of warm liquid that can clear out congestion and phlegm.
  • A warmer, humid environment helps in soothing inflammation.
  • Do several rounds of gargling with warm water and salt to clear out your throat.
  • You can even use a commercial steam or rinse device daily for several weeks that will unblock your nasal area.
  • Additionally, to get rid of stuffy nose, nasal sprays containing oxymetazoline are the best with lesser side effects than an oral medication.

Bear in mind that be it allergies or sinus infection - always go with your doctor’s prescribed medications. 

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