For many people, springtime is a time of nasal congestion and misery. As winter’s cold weather lingers and the air fills with pollen, spring is often the season of stuffy noses, runny eyes, and aching heads.
Since so many symptoms of allergies and sinusitis overlap, they’re often mistaken for one another. However, they are two separate conditions, and in order to get relief, it’s important to get a correct diagnosis to determine the appropriate treatment.
In this blog, the experienced ear, nose, and throat specialists at DFW Sinus Select will explain how to determine if your sinus pressure and other symptoms are caused by spring allergies or sinusitis.
What are the symptoms of springtime allergies?
The biggest spring allergy trigger is pollen. It coats our cars and driveways, and we also breathe it in. When pollen grains get into the nose of someone who’s allergic, they send the immune system into overdrive.
Symptoms of spring allergies commonly include:
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes and nose
- Dark circles under the eyes
If you experience watery or itchy eyes combined with sinus congestion and your symptoms last for several weeks, you likely have allergies.
As allergies continue and worsen, they may develop into sinusitis. That’s because over time, your nasal passages and sinuses may become swollen and congested. These symptoms typically worsen with the onset of spring.
What are the symptoms of sinusitis?
Sinusitis is an infection of the air cavities surrounding the nasal passages. It frequently develops as a complication of the common cold, an allergy attack, or an infection.
The symptoms of sinusitis include:
- Facial pain
- Tenderness and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose, and forehead
- Sinus pressure or congestion
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Loss of smell or taste
- Sinus headache
- Yellow or green mucus from the nose
- Tooth pain
- Sore throat from nasal discharge
- Bad breath
With sinusitis, nasal passageways become inflamed. A liter or more of mucus is created by your body every day, and it gets backed up in your sinuses, causing headaches, sinus pressure, and/or facial pain.
If you experience these symptoms three or more times a year, you may be suffering from chronic sinusitis.
How can I tell symptoms of sinusitis and allergies apart?
As mentioned earlier, sinusitis and allergies have some symptoms in common, such as nasal discharge and, in some cases, headaches. However, there are several important differences.
By paying close attention to the specific symptoms you’re experiencing, you can usually identify which issue is more likely to be causing the problem. For example, if you’re experiencing itchiness, you probably don’t have a sinus infection, since it’s not a common symptom. Another way to tell the difference is if you have very thick yellow or green nasal discharge. That’s more likely a symptom of a sinus infection rather than allergies.
There are certain tests that can help confirm whether congestion stems from allergies or a bacterial or viral infection associated with sinusitis.
Many people try to diagnose and treat themselves with over-the-counter medicines or see a family doctor for allergy and sinus issues. However, the most appropriate person to evaluate allergy problems and sinus issues is an otolaryngologist (an ear, nose, and throat specialist).
Where can I get my sinus pressure symptoms accurately evaluated?
The board-certified specialists at DFW Sinus Select have extensive training in relieving sinus and allergy issues.
To take the first step toward relief, contact DFW Sinus Select and set up an initial consultation to see if your sinus pressure is caused by spring allergies or sinusitis.
At DFW Sinus Select, we have the expertise and experience to accurately diagnose what’s causing your symptoms, and we offer a wide range of treatment options for both allergies and sinusitis. We’re dedicated to helping you improve your health by providing the best treatment options available to effectively manage your condition.