What to take for sinus pressure allergies
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.
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.
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.
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.
What does your sinus congestion glance like?
What is it doing? Let's glance at the possibilities.
Do you own a runny nose?
Is your head stuffed up, making it hard to breathe through your nose?
- It may be a cold.
- It could be a sinus infection (sinusitis).
- It may be the flu.
If you own drainage, what color is it?
- Green or yellow: This color indicates an infection — but that does not mean it is caused by bacteria. Viral infections can also cause discolored mucus. See your doctor, but you may not necessarily need antibiotics.
It could be sinusitis.
- Thick and white or cloudy: It is most likely a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu.
- Clear and thin: It is probably a cold, the flu or allergies.
- Blood-streaked: This is generally caused by ruptured blood vessels in the nose. It can happen as a result of dry nasal membranes or from blowing your nose too aggressively. Glance at other symptoms to determine whether or not you should see a doctor.
Do you own pressure in your face and eyes?
- It is probably a sinus infection (sinusitis).
- It may be allergies.
What Could be Causing Your Sinus Congestion?
Sinus congestion can be caused by numerous things, so it is significant to assess your other symptoms as well. If you own concerns about your symptoms, you should always contact your doctor or health care provider.
- Do you own stuffiness and pain and pressure in your face and eyes? It is probably a form of sinus congestion.
- Do you own a runny or stuffy nose, fever, body aches, and a cough? It is probably the flu.
- Do you own a runny or stuffy nose, headache, and cough?
It could be a cold.
- Do you own a clear runny nose and itching in the eyes or nose? It may be seasonal allergies.
Sinus congestion is a symptom that comes with a lot of upper respiratory infections and illnesses. Most of the time it will go away on its own but sometimes it needs to be treated with medication.
When to See a Doctor for Congestion
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.
How to Stay Healthy, Breathe Easier, and Feel Energetic This Winter
Indoor allergies, freezing weather, less sunlight — winter can make it hard to stay well mentally and physically. Discover out how to protect yourself against seasonal allergies, the winter blahs, freezing winds, comfort-eating traps, and fatigue this year.
Learn More About the Ultimate Winter Wellness Guide
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.
Medications for Sinus Congestion
There are two primary categories of medications to treat the diverse types of sinus congestion.
They are known as antihistamines and decongestants.
Antihistamines are used for a runny nose. They assist dry the sinus congestion and slow the nasal drips. Antihistamines are most commonly used to treat seasonal allergies.
Decongestants are used for that stuffy, full feeling in your head. They reduce the swelling in your nasal passages which allows mucus to drain.
Some common decongestants include Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) and Sudafed PE (phenylephrine).
Many medications combine one of these decongestants or antihistamines with other medications to make multi-symptom treatments. They are sold under numerous brand names.
Multi-Symptom Freezing and Flu Medications