It can be easy to convince yourself you have a bacterial sinus infection when, in reality, your symptoms are simply thanks to allergies. Sinus pressure is one of the many possible symptoms of an allergic reaction, which can occur after spending time at Memorial Waterfront Park with lots of tree pollen. We explore this link below.
What Causes Allergies?
Your immune system works to protect your body from diseases, viruses and infections. But for more than 50 million Americans, their immune system mistakes harmless substances such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, certain foods, mold and insect stings as a dangerous intruder. An allergic reaction occurs when your body is exposed to one of these harmless substances, known as an allergen, and your immune system overreacts.
In order to fight off the intruder, your immune system releases antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which causes your cells to release histamine. Histamine can increase your mucus production and cause swelling and itching; this is what causes your allergy symptoms, which may include:
- Runny/stuffy nose.
- Itchy throat and nose.
- Itchy, watery eyes.
- Sinus pressure.
How Do Allergies Cause Sinus Pressure?
There are four major sinus cavities in your face:
- Frontal, located in your forehead.
- Ethmoid, located behind your nose and between your eyes.
- Maxillary, located behind your cheekbones, between the bottoms of your eyes and the top of your upper jaw.
- Sphenoid, located deep in your head behind your nose.
The sinuses are hollow cavities that are lined with a thin layer of mucus. They have the important job of filtering and moistening the air you breathe in, and they also trap dust and germs.
During an allergic reaction, mucus production increases and the nasal tissues swell, trapping this mucus, which is what causes sinus pain and pressure.
In some cases, it’s possible for bacteria to make its way into the sinuses, causing an infection that requires antibiotics and treatment from a doctor. Look out for the signs of a bacterial sinus infection, which include:
- Thick, discolored drainage from the nose.
- Postnasal drip (mucus draining down the throat).
- Feeling of fullness in the ear.
For more information about sinus relief or to schedule an appointment with an expert allergist, call Charleston ENT & Allergy today.