Along with cooler temperatures, autumn also brings with it fall allergies. And record rainfall in the south this summer means that certain areas, including Texas, are going to be especially hard hit by allergies this season. This may come as no surprise to residents in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, which has been significantly impacted by fall allergy season in years past.
Our bodies are programmed to fight off anything that is not supposed to be there. So when allergens enter the body, histamines are released in your system. As your body tries to ward off these foreign intrusions, numerous unpleasant symptoms can arise. One of these symptoms is excess mucus production. With the excess mucus, nasal drainage becomes more difficult, and sinusitis can occur when a buildup of mucus causes the lining of the sinuses to become inflamed. In order to determine the correct treatment for your symptoms, it is important to understand the difference between sinusitis and allergies.
In this blog, the otolaryngologists at DFW Sinus Select will provide a simple overview of the ways that sinusitis and allergies differ and the varying treatment options available for each.
Allergy Symptoms vs. Sinusitis Symptoms
While allergies can produce symptoms that may lead to sinusitis, not all allergy symptoms are indicative of this type of infection. Here’s a look at the differences between symptoms of sinusitis and allergies.
Allergy symptoms may include:
- A clear nasal discharge
- Runny nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Scratchy throat
Sinusitis symptoms may include:
- Pain between and behind the eyes
- Yellow or green mucus
- Tooth pain
- Bad breath
- Decreased sense of taste or smell
Allergy symptoms are often identifiable by the timing of their onset. If you experience symptoms at the beginning of fall, it is very possible that they’re the result of fall allergy season.
While symptoms of allergies and sinusitis may overlap, a telltale sign of sinusitis is worsening symptoms that aren’t improved by taking allergy medication (antihistamines). Antihistamines are often the only treatment necessary for managing allergy symptoms. For sinusitis, however, you may need a more involved treatment that necessitates medical evaluation.
Initial sinusitis treatments will target the immediate symptoms of a sinus infection, but won’t prevent these symptoms from returning over time. If this is a one-time occurrence, also known as acute sinusitis, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- Antibiotics – Antibiotics will treat the source of a sinus infection being caused by bacteria buildup in the sinus cavities. However, it does not help with sinusitis that’s caused by a viral infection. The average course of treatment runs approximately one week.
- Antihistamines – Antihistamines may be recommended to help reduce sinusitis symptoms that may be worsened by an allergy attack.
- Saline Nose Rinses – Saline nasal rinses may assist with clearing out and moisturizing inflamed and congested nasal passages.
- Topical Corticosteroid Sprays – These intranasal steroid sprays can help improve congestion by targeting the lining of the nasal passages directly, but should only be used for a maximum of several days to avoid adverse side effects.
- Decongestants – Decongestant medications can help thin the mucus in your sinus area, making it easier to drain.
If sinusitis is a recurring or chronic issue that lasts for multiple months, a medical procedure may be necessary to achieve long-term relief. Many of today’s surgical treatment options are minimally invasive and can be performed right inside the doctor’s office. Recovery is quick and the results commonly deliver long-lasting relief for your sinus problem. A leading option for chronic sinusitis treatment is a procedure called Balloon Sinuplasty.
Balloon Sinuplasty for Sinusitis
In this cutting-edge procedure for chronic sinus infections offered at DFW Sinus Select, the doctor inserts a tiny balloon catheter into your nasal passage. As it is inflated and then deflated, it gently opens up the blocked sinus opening, enlarging it and then flushing it out with a solution so that your sinuses are cleared of excess mucus buildup and able to resume normal drainage. With the Balloon Sinuplasty procedure, no bone or skin is removed and the lining of your nasal passage is not damaged. Recovery time is almost immediate.
Sinusitis and Allergies: We Have You Covered
DFW Sinus Select has you covered this allergy season. Don’t let sinusitis and allergies keep you from enjoying fall activities. Schedule an evaluation today at one of our practice locations or get started by filling out the appointment form right on this page. We’ll get you back to your normal activities without the frustrating symptoms.
We are pleased to offer treatment for sinusitis and allergies from multiple office locations, including Frisco, Plano, Denton, Flower Mound, Fort Worth and Southlake.