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Learn How to Tell the Difference

“Allergies” “sinusitis” and “congestion” are terms that we tend to use interchangeably on a regular basis even though they are very different. This mistake might not be of much consequence in every-day conversations but it can have a great impact when it comes to figuring out the best treatment for your symptoms. Today we’ll finally clear it up for you, is it congestion, allergies or sinus infection?

Meme - Kermit CongestionLet’s start with learning about congestion. Everyone’s nose congests and decongests throughout the day. Congestion is a general term that refers to a feeling of stuffiness in the turbinates (fleshy passageways inside your nose) caused by an increase in blood volume to the vessels that line the turbinates. Congestion is stimulated by a number of triggers such as a change in weather, exercise, food, postural changes, stress, perfumes, hormonal imbalance, smoke, as well as many others. It is a symptom of many illnesses, but not an illness in itself.

Sinusitis refers to the inflammation of the lining of the sinuses. The sinuses are air filled cavities in the skull and facial bones. You have four sinus cavities:

  • Maxillary Sinuses: in the cheeks
  • Ethmoid Sinuses: in the roof of nose
  • Frontal Sinuses: in the forehead
  • Sphenoid Sinuses: in the back of the nose

Image - Digital Illustration of SinusesSinusitis or sinus congestion causes a feeling of fullness in the face, especially around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead.  Other symptoms of sinusitis include: headaches, nasal congestion, post nasal drip, loss of smell and bad breath or bad odor.

Acute or Chronic Sinusitis

Depending on whether you are suffering from acute sinusitis or chronic sinusitis, the treatment for your condition will be different. For acute sinusitis, antibiotics and decongestants will do the trick since this is a short-term condition often caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Chronic or recurrent sinusitis is a long-term or recurrent condition caused by many potential factors that may require a combination of medical and surgical management.

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergies or Allergic Rhinitis is a disorder that occurs when your body’s defense system mistakes harmless allergens (such as pollen, dust, or grass) for harmful antigens (such as bacteria). Allergy symptoms occur when a substance called histamine is released into the blood and causes:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Runny nose and post nasal drip
  • Itchy throat
  • Stuffy nose
  • Hives

Now that you’re able to answer the is it congestion, allergies or sinus infection? You should consider visiting an ear nose and throat (ENT) doctor to seek proper diagnosis and permanent solutions for your condition. Dr. Raza Pasha is an excellent ENT doctor servicing Houston and its surrounding areas. Do not hesitate to schedule an appointment.