Is It Allergies Or Sinus Infection?

African American woman sneeze blowing noseHow many of you have went to Walgreens or CVS and bought the wrong medicine because you thought it was your allergies acting up, but in reality it was your sinuses that were responsible for your incessant sneezing? Mistakes such as these can either leave you blowing your nose, or dry at the nostrils. It’s time once and for all to get it right this season. The question we’re tackling today is, “what is the difference between allergies and sinuses?”

Dr. Crystal Moore gives us the ins-and-outs of what allergies and sinuses are all about.

BlackDoctor: What are allergies and its symptoms?

Dr. Moore: Allergies, or allergic rhinitis, are often seasonal. They are caused by the release of histamine in response to an allergen. Histamine produces common allergy symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, nasal and sinus congestion, headaches, sneezing, scratchy throat, hives, and shortness of breath. Other less common symptoms are balance disturbances, skin irritations such as eczema, and even respiratory problems like asthma.For some allergy sufferers symptoms may be seasonal, but for others it is a year-round discomfort. In the late summer and early fall ragweed is the culprit for many fall allergy sufferers. Warm temperatures this year have extended the ragweed growing season.

BlackDoctor: What do you recommend for treating your allergies?

Dr. Moore: Allergy symptom control is most successful when multiple management approaches are used simultaneously. They may include minimizing exposure to allergens, desensitization with allergy shots, and medications. If used properly, medications, including antihistamines, nasal decongestant sprays, steroid sprays, saline sprays, and cortisone-type preparations, can be helpful. Even over-the-counter drugs can be beneficial, but some may cause drowsiness.