What allergy causes sinus infections
Visit a GP if the symptoms of allergic rhinitis are disrupting your sleep, preventing you carrying out everyday activities, or adversely affecting your performance at work or school.
A diagnosis of allergic rhinitis will generally be based on your symptoms and any possible triggers you may own noticed.
If the cause of your condition is uncertain, you may be referred for allergy testing.
Find out more about diagnosing allergic rhinitis
Sinus infections generally require treatment with a combination of therapies. Antibiotics may be given for 2 or more weeks and frequently more than one course of antibiotics may be required. Medications to reduce nasal blockage or control allergies may also be prescribed.
These medicines may include: decongestants, mucus-thinning medicines, oral steroids, antihistamines, and/or topical nasal steroid sprays. For persons with year-round allergies or irritant sensitivity (non-allergic rhinitis), long-term daily anti-inflammatory treatment is often necessary to reduce the risk for recurrent infections. At times, effective treatment of “true” nasal allergies (allergic rhinitis) may require immunotherapy (also called "allergy shots").
Allergy shots are typically recommended only when available medications fail to adequately control allergic symptoms. Allergy shots do not improve symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis. In addition, the use of a saline sinus rinse solution, especially during an athletic sinus infection or after an allergen / irritant exposure, may also assist to improve nasal symptoms. Occasionally, a sinusitis may be due to a fungal infection.
If your physician suspects this, treatment with the anti-fungal medication Amphotericin B may be added to the saline sinus rinse.
In cases of persistently obstructed sinus passages due to structural or anatomic problems, evaluation by an Otorhinolaryngologist (ENT), a medical specialist trained in the surgical correction of ear-nose-and throat problems, may be required.
- What triggers it: A virus.
- What it feels like: You can expect a stuffy nose, but also some runny, discolored mucus, Goldsobel explains.
You may also experience a sore throat, cough, sneezing, headache, or fatigue. Another sign is a rising temperature: Colds often trigger a fever, he says, but sometimes those fevers are so mild that people ponder they own allergies instead.
- How endless it lasts: People generally fend off the freezing virus (without treatment) within seven to 10 days, Baroody says. But if your symptoms own lingered past that window of time, you might own sinusitis. If you suspect you own a sinus infection, you should talk to your doctor.
An Allergic Reaction
- What triggers it: Allergens cause an allergic reaction.
Common indoor allergens include mold, dust, and animal dander, while outdoor triggers include pollen and ragweed.
- What it feels like: You may experience some nasal congestion with allergies, but it generally accompanies a runny nose (clear, watery discharge), sneezing, and itchy nose and eyes. Allergies never cause a fever, Goldsobel notes.
- How endless it lasts: If you own seasonal allergies, you may struggle with allergy symptoms throughout the spring and drop, Dr. Baroody says. If you're allergic to indoor allergens, you may experience symptoms year-round.
How to Treat Congestion
Because sinus infections, colds, and allergies share some similar symptoms, including congestion, medications love nasal sprays, oral antihistamines, and eye drops can assist minimize your discomfort.
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If allergies are to blame, do your best to avoid your known triggers and steer clear of any other potential irritants, such as smoke or air pollution. Long-term treatments love immunotherapy (allergy shots) can assist desensitize you to allergens and improve symptoms over time.
When Colds and Allergies Cause Sinus Infections
Even if your sinus congestion is being caused by allergies or a freezing, it doesn’t mean you won’t develop a sinus infection later on.
In fact, when people own colds or allergies, the lining of the nose will swell up, which prevents mucus from draining properly — and that can then lead to sinusitis, says Goldsobel.
People with allergies and asthma may be more vulnerable to sinusitis, though it's not proven, Baroody says.
If you are at higher risk for sinus infections, you can take steps to prevent them.
Don't let allergy symptoms spiral out of control. And, Baroody says, be on the lookout "for the symptoms of sinus infections, and treat them promptly."
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Sinusitis can be a confusing thing to treat for anyone.
Because a sinus infection can be so easily confused with a common freezing or an allergy, figuring out the best way to alleviate your symptoms can be difficult.
Even more challenging, a sinus infection can evolve over time from a viral infection to a bacterial infection, or even from a short-term acute infection to a long-term chronic illness.
We own provided for you the best sources of information on sinus infections to assist you rapidly define your ailment and get the best and most efficient treatment possible.
What causes allergic rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis is caused by the immune system reacting to an allergen as if it were harmful.
This results in cells releasing a number of chemicals that cause the inside layer of your nose (the mucous membrane) to become swollen and too much mucus to be produced.
Common allergens that cause allergic rhinitis include pollen (this type of allergic rhinitis is known as hay fever), as well as mould spores, home dust mites, and flakes of skin or droplets of urine or saliva from certain animals.
Find out more about the causes of allergic rhinitis
Favorite Resources for Finding a Specialist
American Rhinologic Society
Through research, education, and advocacy, the American Rhinologic Society is devoted to serving patients with nose, sinus, and skull base disorders.
Their website’s thorough coverage of sinus-related issues includes rarer conditions, such as fungal sinusitis, which are often excluded from other informational sites. It also provides a valuable search tool to discover a doctor, as well as links to other medical societies and resources that are useful for patients.
Their website contains an exhaustive guide on sinusitis and an easy-to-use «Find a Doctor» search tool.
ENThealth provides useful information on how the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) are all connected, along with information about sinusitis and other related illnesses and symptoms, such as rhinitis, deviated septum, and postnasal drip.
As part of the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, this website is equipped with the ability to assist you discover an ENT specialist in your area.
Allergic rhinitis is inflammation of the inside of the nose caused by an allergen, such as pollen, dust, mould or flakes of skin from certain animals.
It’s a extremely common condition, estimated to affect around 1 in every 5 people in the UK.
The Nasal sinuses are hollow cavities found within the skull and located behind the eyes, the nose and the cheek bones.
The primary function of these sinuses is to warm, moisten and filter the air passing through the nasal cavity. The sinuses also frolic a role in our ability to vocalize certain sounds.Sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses, and is most common in the winter months.
Sinusitis may final for months or even years (if inadequately treated), and sinusitis is often misdiagnosed as nasal allergies. This is especially true for young children who are often thought to be suffering with allergies during a sinus infection because their nasal drainage is observed to be “mostly clear” or because they own only nasal congestion. Nasal drainage, when present during sinusitis, can be either colored or clear. The precise diagnosis of true nasal allergy can only be made by documenting the presence of allergic antibodies (IgE); either by skin testing or blood testing (RAST).
Sinusitis can produce symptoms in the nose, eyes, throat, middle ear and even the lungs. Sinusitis may cause extremely noticeable symptoms such as facial pain, headache, thick nasal drainage or “post-nasal drip” (which may result in a productive cough). Conversely, sinusitis may cause only mild symptoms such as throat clearing, nasal congestion (with or without drainage), a non-productive “dry” cough, toothache (upper teeth), ear pain, balance problems, fatigue, or even concentration difficulties.
Sinusitis is also a extremely common trigger of asthma symptoms in asthmatics. Only very rarely does a sinus infections cause a fever.
There are two types of sinusitis: acute and chronic.
Acute sinusitis is typically caused by a bacterial infection. It often develops as a tardy complication following a viral respiratory infection (“the common cold”). Sinusitis should be suspected whenever nasal symptoms final for more than 2 weeks. Acute sinusitis generally causes more prominent or noticeable symptoms than chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitisis also generally caused by bacterial infections however; this diagnosis requires that nasal symptoms be present for more than 6 weeks. When laboratory cultures are performed on chronically infected sinuses, multiple strains of bacteria are often found to co-exist.
Each bacterial strain has its own unique antibiotic sensitivity profile and a single course of antibiotics will frequently fail to kill all the strains present in a chronically infected sinus.
Although viral “colds” are the most common preceding cause of acute sinusitis, people who suffer with nasal allergies (allergic rhinitis) or environmental irritant sensitivity (non-allergic rhinitis) are also at risk for developing frequent sinusitis. These nasal problems cause swelling of the mucous membranes lining the sinuses. If the little opening of a normally hollow sinus cavity becomes blocked, mucous accumulation can happen.
The inability to clear mucous from the sinuses allows for bacterial growth, which then leads to further mucous membrane inflammation and prolonged sinus obstruction.
Most patients with recurring sinusitis own more than one problem that predisposes them to infection. Addressing all potentially relevant factors is key to successfully breaking this pattern. Persons with sinus problems should avoid environmental irritants such as tobacco smoke, and any other triggers which own been noted in the past to worsen their nasal symptoms.
Environmental irritant sensitivity (Non-Allergic Rhinitis) causes symptoms that are almost identical to those of true allergy (Allergic Rhinitis). Among persons suffering from allergic rhinitis, about 70% also suffer from non-allergic rhinitis. Unfortunately, some of the medications commonly used to treat Allergic Rhinitis (i.e. Claritin / Allegra / Zyrtec), own no significant effect on controlling the symptoms of Non-Allergic Rhinitis. Treatment of nasal inflammation with the appropriate medication(s) can often control nasal obstruction, thereby reducing the risk for developing recurrent infections.
Making the correct diagnosis concerning the cause of the nasal symptoms is the most significant factor in choosing the medication(s), which will most likely be effective for each individual.
In addition to causing nasal inflammation as an irritant (non-allergic rhinitis), tobacco smoke exposure also adversely affects nasal cilia. Cilia are microscopic hair-like projections from the surface of the cells lining the respiratory system (mucous membranes).
Cilia beat in a coordinated fashion to move mucous and bacteria below and out of the sinuses and up and out of the lungs toward the back of the throat where they are normally swallowed.
Smoke exposure causes the cilia to beat in an uncoordinated manner decreasing the normal clearance of mucous and bacterial. This is why children of smokers own a higher incidence of ear infections and why smokers own more bronchitis and sinusitis episodes than non-smokers. (See www.AlamoAsthma.com for “scientific studies” concerning tobacco smoke)
Some people (both adults and children) who suffer from recurrent sinusitis own poor immunity to a bacterial organism that cause the majority of sinus infections: Streptococcus pneumonia. If there are low levels of protective antibodies (IgG) to these organisms in the blood, a person may get the same type of bacterial infection over and over again.
Frequent nasal and ear infections happen even among normal healthy children under the age of two. Under normal circumstances, each new infection triggers the immune system into creating a endless lasting protective IgG antibody response and over time, the frequency of these childhood infections normally decreases. We own noted that persons with poor immunity to these organisms often never seem to “out-grow” their frequent infection period.
Children who own failed to develop protective antibody levels following their infancy immunizations with the pneumococcal (7 strain) vaccine are especially at risk for frequent infections. These immune system problems are easily diagnosed by blood testing and if present, are generally correctable by istering the appropriate booster vaccination(s). After age 2, if needed, children (and adults) can be immunized with a vaccine called “Pneumovax” containing 23 diverse varieties of Streptococcus pneumonia.
Finally, structural problems inside the nose that narrow the air passages such as polyps, a deviated nasal septum (the bone and cartilage structure that separates the left and correct sides of the nose), or enlarged adenoids may also contribute to the risk for recurrent sinusitis.
Surgery is sometimes needed to correct these issues. Even if symptoms seem to be coming from the sinuses, the sinuses are not always infected. To make a correct diagnosis, a physician will need to take a history and act out a physical examination. The physician may also order testing to assist determine the factors contributing to recurrent infection. These tests may include: allergy testing, immune system testing, or a CAT scan (which shows extremely precise images of the sinus cavities). In addition, it may be necessary to collect samples of the nasal secretions for evaluation or culture.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis typically causes cold-like symptoms, such as sneezing, itchiness and a blocked or runny nose.
These symptoms usually start soon after being exposed to an allergen.
Some people only get allergic rhinitis for a few months at a time because they’re sensitive to seasonal allergens, such as tree or grass pollen. Other people get allergic rhinitis every year round.
Most people with allergic rhinitis own mild symptoms that can be easily and effectively treated.
But for some people symptoms can be severe and persistent, causing sleep problems and interfering with everyday life.
The symptoms of allergic rhinitis occasionally improve with time, but this can take numerous years and it’s unlikely that the condition will vanish completely.
The Best Research Resources
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
This academy’s website provides valuable information to assist readers determine the difference between colds, allergies, and sinusitis.
A primer guide on sinusitis also provides more specific information about the chronic version of the illness. Additional resources include a «virtual allergist» that helps you to review your symptoms, as well as a database on pollen counts.
American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI)
In addition to providing a comprehensive guide on sinus infections, the ACAAI website also contains a wealth of information on allergies, asthma, and immunology. The site’s useful tools include a symptom checker, a way to search for an allergist in your area, and a function that allows you to ask an allergist questions about your symptoms.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
For allergy sufferers, the AAFA website contains an easy-to-understand primer on sinusitis.
It also provides comprehensive information on various types of allergies, including those with risk factors for sinusitis.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC website provides basic information on sinus infections and other respiratory illnesses, such as common colds, bronchitis, ear infections, flu, and sore throat. It offers guidance on how to get symptom relief for those illnesses, as well as preventative tips on practicing good hand hygiene, and a recommended immunization schedule.
U.S. National Library of Medicine
The U.S. National Library of Medicine is the world’s largest biomedical library.
As part of the National Institutes of Health, their website provides the basics on sinus infection. It also contains a number of links to join you with more information on treatments, diagnostic procedures, and related issues.