Is it Allergy or a Sinus Infection?
- Posted on: Aug 31 2016
Determining if you have allergies or a sinus infection is not easy. Truth is, it is even hard for your primary care physician to tell the difference. Allergy and sinus infection both cause congestion, sinus pressure, drainage that may be clear or colored, headache, fatigue, and make you feel sick.
Allergy vs. Sinus Infection
Let’s go through a simple algorithm to help you feel more confident of what diagnoses you may have.
A sudden onset of typical nasal and sinus complaints, without a spike in recent allergens, that last for 3-5 days and then resolves completely is usually a viral sinus infection and only requires symptomatic therapy.
If that illness persists beyond 7 days it most likely is a bacterial infection or has become a bacterial infection and it would benefit from antibiotic therapy.
A sudden onset of these symptoms that coincides with a spike in allergens such as high mold or cedar season and persists for weeks with waxing and waning as the allergy counts persists, is typical of allergy and would benefit from allergy evaluation and treatment.
Symptoms that are persistent, lasting for weeks or months, that wax and wane, but are not typically coinciding with allergy seasons, is typical for chronic sinus infection. It does not actually ever completely clear even with antibiotic therapy. This chronic infection can be resolved with modern balloon sinuplasty as a simple office procedure.
Getting The Correct Treatment
It’s sounds simple, but to get the right treatment you need the right diagnosis. In our ear, nose, & throat clinic, we can use sophisticated diagnostic equipment to be sure of the correct diagnosis and start you on the right plan. Video Nasal Endoscopy can be performed to obtain a detailed magnified view of the inside of the nose and the sinus openings to see if the findings are consistent with infection or allergy and to evaluate for anatomical issues that may be causing the symptoms. Office miniCAT scan can be performed to get a detailed X-ray look at the sinus cavities as well as evaluate for anatomical issues like a deviated septum or polyps. This makes differentiating allergy and infection quite easy.
Allergy skin testing can be performed in our allergy center. We can know in less than 30 minutes not only what you are allergic to but to what degree. We also formulate the allergy shot or drop therapy for you to get you relief right away. Click here to read more about the advanced services we offer.
Schedule a consultation
If you are suffering from nasal and sinus complaints and want to arrive at a plan that will work, come in for an office consultation and we will get you on track to relief. Complete our online contact form below with any questions or to request an appointment.
Daniel Slaughter, MD