If you have nasal congestion that just won’t go away, you might not be sure if it’s allergies or sinusitis. While the conditions are similar, there are several indicators that can help you determine the cause of your congestion.
What Other Symptoms Are You Having?
If you are dealing with allergies, you are more likely to have other symptoms like:
- Watery, itchy eyes
On the other hand, if you have sinusitis, you are more likely to experience other symptoms of an infection, including:
- Pain and swelling around forehead, eyes and cheeks
- Post-nasal drip
- Cough or sore throat
- Loss of smell
- Low-grade fever
- Thicker mucus that is yellow or green in color
When Do They Occur?
While some allergies are year-round, many are seasonal. If you notice stronger symptoms in the spring or fall, especially in outdoor areas like White Point Garden, it may be due to a pollen allergy. If your symptoms worsen after being exposed to certain triggers like mold or pet dander, that is another sign allergies may be the culprit.
Sinusitis often occurs recently after you’ve had a cold or some other type of virus. The congestion may linger for a week or two. In cases of chronic sinusitis, which affects between 1-5% of the U.S. population, symptoms can last several months or more.
When in Doubt, See a Doctor
Both allergies and sinusitis can sometimes be managed at home. Some possible treatment options include over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays, humidifiers and rest.
However, if your symptoms don’t respond to at-home treatments, you should visit your doctor. If they believe your symptoms are allergy-related, they may refer you to an allergist. They can help confirm your triggers and see if you may benefit from stronger prescription allergy treatments.
If they believe you have sinusitis, they may simply recommend rest or, depending on the cause, offer prescription treatments to improve your symptoms.
If you deal with chronic sinusitis that is interfering with your daily life you might require more intensive procedures which can include:
- Balloon sinuplasty
- Sinus surgery such as functional endoscopic sinus surgery or image guided surgery
If you have additional questions about allergies or sinusitis or wish to schedule an appointment, contact Charleston ENT & Allergy today.