Friday, April 10, 2015

Is it Spring Allergies or a Sinus Infection?

It’s raining pollen in Atlanta, and you can’t stop sneezing.  How can you tell if your symptoms are related to allergies or if you might have something more serious, like a sinus infection?

According to Dr. Anthony Ferrara at Urgent Care at Peachtree, here are some symptoms that are likely to indicate allergies:

Watery Eyes
Stuffy Nose
Loss of smell or taste
Cold symptoms that last for more than 10 days with no fever
Constant sniffling
Dark circles under the eyes

If these are your only symptoms, it is most likely an allergy.

Allergies are simply your immune system reacting to foreign substances, like pollen.  When your immune system reacts to pollen, it releases histamines causing a myriad of different symptoms.

On the other hand, Dr. Ferrara says that sinus infections result from blocked mucous becoming infected with bacteria.  And, severe upper respiratory allergies can lead to a sinus infection.  The symptoms for sinus infection include:

Facial or dental pain
Sensation of pressure
Green nasal discharge
Eye pain
Bad breath
Nighttime cough

Sinus infections are often the result of a cold or allergies that have been present for at least 10 days.

Regardless of the cause of your sinus symptoms, if they last more than 4 days, you should see a doctor to ensure that you don’t have a medical issue that needs treatment.

With so much pollen in the air, if you do suffer from allergies, remember to wash your hair, face and hands and change your clothes after being outside to help reduce the amount of pollen you are exposed to in the Spring.  It may be raining pollen outside, but you don’t have to bring it in with you!