Allergies or Sinusitis? How Do I Tell the Difference?

Allergies or Sinusitis? How Do I Tell the Difference?

Sure, we tend to associate sneezing, itchy eyes, and sinus headaches with spring. But if you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from autumnal allergies, it can’t get cold fast enough. What’s causing your fall allergies? You may be experiencing sinusitis symptoms.

Ragweed photoThe most common cause of fall allergies is ragweed. This flowering plant is a member of the sunflower family, and prefers dry plains and sandy soil. However, since there are 41 species of the plant worldwide, it can catch up with you just about anywhere. If the ragweed doesn’t get you, mold might. Mold thrives in damp places, such as decaying leaves, and its spores can easily become airborne, causing runny noses and blocked sinuses.

Allergies are extremely irritating, and—even worse—they can turn into sinusitis. In fact, many people think they’re suffering from simple allergies when they actually have a dangerous infection in their sinuses. How can you tell the difference between allergies and sinusitis?

  • Associated Sinusitis Symptoms –  While both allergies and sinusitis may cause a runny nose and sinus pressure, people with allergies will frequently have red, itchy eyes. Those with sinusitis are more likely to experience pain between the eyes.
  • The Color of the Mucus –  With allergies, the mucus tends to be clear and thin. With sinusitis, it tends to be thick, discolored, and often malodorous.
  • The Treatment – Allergies can usually be controlled with antihistamines, Sinusitis, on the other hand, may require antibiotics.

If you’re wondering whether you’re suffering from allergies or sinusitis, give us a call. We can help unblock your sinuses, and even keep them clear through flu season.

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The Staff and Doctors of The New York Otolaryngology Group