When To Contact An Allergist Vs Ent
Its common for people with allergy symptoms to go directly to an ear, nose, and throat doctor for treatment. ENT doctors are surgeons who are experts in resolving structural problems involving the head, face, sinuses, nose, throat and voice box. Allergist/immunologists are expert physicians who manage inflammatory conditions of the nose, sinuses, ears, throat and lungs without surgery. Symptoms such as trouble breathing, sinus pressure, episodic ear discomfort, or a raspy voice can be caused by allergies and may not require surgery.
If youre wondering whether your symptoms require visiting an Allergist or ENT doctor, continue reading to help decide the right course of action for you.
So Is It Allergic Rhinitis Or Sinusitis
Allergies and sinusitis have a lot of similar symptoms, but there are some that tend to be more indicative of one over the other. Allergies are usually triggered by seasonal pollens or encounters with dander from animals that you are allergic to, so you may notice issues ramping up during specific times of the year, after certain weather patterns, or after spending time with animals to which you arent accustomed.
Allergy symptoms typically include runny nose, sneezing, watery or itchy eyes, and sometimes difficulty breathing. Getting tested for allergies will help you narrow down the possibilities and perhaps provide you with a list of things to avoid so that you can prevent allergic reactions.
Sinusitis, on the other hand, generally presents with some of the following symptoms:
- Thick and colored mucus
- Painful, swollen areas in your face
Can You Take Allergy Pills And Nasal Spray Together
When combined with oral antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays can prevent excess histamine production, but they can also be used to prevent excess histamine production when combined with oral antihistamines. oxymetazoline and nasal steroid sprays should not be confused.
Recommended Reading: Does Advil Help Sinus Pressure
How Do Allergies Affect Us
Allergies occur when your immune system fends off a perceived threat by releasing chemicals called histamines into the bloodstream they are what cause your symptoms.
Most seasonal allergies can be traced to pollen, mold, dust mites and animal dander.
A persistent sinus infection called sinusitis produces many of the same symptoms, making it difficult to distinguish from allergies.
If you end up treating the wrong condition, you arent likely to find relief.
Can Allergies Turn Into A Cold Or Sinus Infection
People sometimes wonder if allergies can turn into a cold or sinus infection. The first part of the answer is that allergies cant cause a cold. There are two different mechanisms at work an immune response to something that shouldnt cause a response in the first case and an appropriate response to a cold virus in the second.
As for allergies and sinus infections, there can be a link in that allergies can affect sinus drainage, and its easier for an infection to develop if the sinuses arent draining properly.
Similarities Between Allergy Sinus And Covid
The similarities between symptoms of allergies, sinusitis, and COVID-19 can easily cause concern, especially if a patient is experiencing just one or two symptoms on the list of overlap. Certain links do exist between symptoms, but slight nuances between the type and likelihood of symptoms can help determine which cause is most likely.
Symptoms that can appear with allergies, sinus issues, or coronavirus include:
- shortness of breath
- dry cough
If a person is only experiencing symptoms in the list above, it can be tougher to determine what is causing them. Patients should consider the activities taking place before the start of their symptoms and whether anything worsened the symptoms, such as pollen, pets, sleeping, or physical activity. If allergies are suspected as the cause, try taking allergy medications such as antihistamines, to see whether this relieves the symptoms.
Keep in mind that allergies or sinus issues and COVID-19 can exist at the same time. You may still want to see a doctor and be tested for coronavirus if you are experiencing any of the symptoms that indicate a virus is likely, such as fever combined with cough, or if your symptoms are more severe than your normal allergy symptoms.
If the source of symptoms is still unclear, or if you may have been exposed to the virus, it is recommended to get tested for COVID-19.
Why Should You Treat A Sinus Problem
Some sinus problems will clear up without needing medication or treatment. Drinking water and rest can lead to the gradual easing of symptoms, but a more serious sinus problem could result in further issues. The build-up of mucus could cause a sinus infection that will only exacerbate the problem. In fact, an ear infection may be the side effect of congestion behind the eardrum. Also, mucus drainage down the throat could cause a sore throat and persistent cough.
Also Check: Can A Sinus Infection Cause Night Sweats
Main Differences Between A Sinus Infection And Allergies
Sinus infections also go by the name, sinusitis, which is inflammation of your sinuses. The swelling can be acute or chronic .
The CDC explains that germs, viruses, and bacteria thrive and grow when your sinuses are filled with fluid instead of air.
The abnormal fluid in the sinus cavity, with the germs, equals a sinus infection.
Allergies, on the other hand, are caused by an immune response to a substance that normally doesnt bother other people, your immune system is sending out false alarms.
The difference between a sinus infection and allergies, broadly speaking, is a sinus infection is inflammation of your sinuses, where allergies are an immune response.
What Can An Ent Do For Chronic Sinusitis
When symptoms of sinusitis prolong past the 12-week mark despite receiving treatment, the condition moves from acute to chronic. Chronic sinusitis is best treated utilizing a holistic approach targeting both the trigger of the condition as well as effectively treating any ensuing infection. ENTs can correct anatomical or structural problems that are contributory to chronic sinus infections. When the symptoms are tied to an allergy, a Board-certified Allergist can help guide treatment options and lessen the long term need for medications through allergen immunotherapy.
Also Check: How To Relieve Sinus Pressure In Face
Breathe A Little Easier With Allergy & Ent Associates
Spring allergies and sinus infections can give way to unbearable symptoms. Even with over-the-counter treatments and at-home remedies, your sinusitis or allergies may not subside as quickly as youd like. Even if you believe your symptoms are no big deal, any disruption to your daily life should be addressed.
At Allergy & ENT Associates, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies and sinus infections. Weve been serving the Houston area since 1957 and are certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. From balloon sinuplasty to rhinoplasty and more, we offer a wide variety of potential treatments to help you breathe easier. Contact us online or call MY-SINUS to schedule your appointment today.
Get The Sinusitis And Rhinitis Treatment You Need At Kaplan Sinus Relief
Understanding the difference between rhinitis vs. sinusitis is one thing. Getting effective treatment for either condition so that you can get back to living your life is another.
At Kaplan Sinus Relief, we are leaders in providing Houstonians with advanced sinus treatment options. If you suffer from either chronic rhinitis or chronic sinusitis and are looking for relief, we are here to help.
Call us at 713-766-1818 or request an appointment online today!
More Helpful Articles by Kaplan Sinus Relief:
Also Check: How Does Sinus Pressure Make You Feel
What Are Allergies
Allergies basically occur at any point of the time, although it often occurs in the childhood phase of ones life as then it becomes allergy to a new substance in adulthood. Allergies occur when the immune system of a person reacts or even overreacts to some allergens. Allergens can be any substance, but most of the time, they are like pollen, dust, or it can be even pet dander.
The reaction is basically like a negative response by the body to the substance. The immune system reacts to it by releasing substances like histamine. The release of histamine causes several symptoms like sneezing continuously, headache, and even congestion. These symptoms also include feeling foggy and developing skin rashes.
What Is Sinusitis
If allergies and sinusitis have the same symptoms, why are they considered different conditions? Although you may experience all the same symptoms as your friends and family who have seasonal allergies, you may not have the same triggers. Unlike allergies, which are caused by irritants that enter your nasal passages and cause a reaction, sinusitis is most often cause by an infection in the sinuses. While allergens like pet dander or pollen are only temporary and can be flushed easily, bacterial and viral infections of the sinuses may require further treatment. This usually means symptoms caused by sinusitis stick around for a lot longer than those caused by allergies. Patients may end up developing more severe symptoms like fever or migraines if their sinusitis is left untreated.
Because allergies are so prolific, most people assume their symptoms are results of allergies without ever consulting a physician. However, if you suspect your symptoms are worse than most other peoples or last longer, it may be in your best interest to seek out a medical professional who can diagnose and treat you. Watch out for these signs to determine if you should see an ear, nose and throat specialist instead of an allergist.
- Pressure or pain in the face
- Headache or migraine
- Loss of taste or smell
Recommended Reading: Medication To Treat Sinus Infection
When To See A Gp
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 usually be based on your symptoms and any possible triggers you may have noticed.
If the cause of your condition is uncertain, you may be referred for allergy testing.
Chronic Sinusitis And Allergies What Kind Of Doctor Do You See For Allergy Testing
Board-certified Allergists are highly trained physicians who specialize in the diagnoses and nonsurgical treatment of chronic sinus issues and allergies. They also specialize in the management of asthma since most asthmatics have allergic triggers that affect their breathing. Allergists focus on the underlying cause of the symptoms to lessen the need for medications and surgery. In doing so, Allergists are like medical detectives who take a comprehensive and integrated approach to treatment. Through the appropriate use of allergy testing, Allergists can help patients to understand their triggers and teach patients the environmental strategies needed to avoid their triggers. Allergists use allergy test results to decide which medications would be the most effective. Allergists can also guide patients through allergen immunotherapy to help relieve persistent nasal and sinus symptoms when medications are not helpful or when patients wish to minimize the need for medications.
You May Like: Why Is My Sinus Pressure So Bad
How Is Sinus Infection Diagnosed
Diagnosis depends on symptoms and requires an examination of the throat, nose and sinuses. Your allergist will look for:
- Discolored nasal discharge
- Bad Breath
If your sinus infection lasts longer than eight weeks, or if standard antibiotic treatment is not working, a sinus CT scan may help your allergist diagnose the problem. Your allergist may examine your nose or sinus openings. The exam uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light at one end that is inserted through the nose. It is not painful. Your allergist may give you a light anesthetic nasal spray to make you more comfortable.
Mucus cultures: If your sinus infection is chronic or has not improved after several rounds of antibiotics, a mucus culture may help to determine what is causing the infection. Most mucus samples are taken from the nose. However, it is sometimes necessary to get mucus directly from the sinuses.
Knowing what kind of bacteria is causing the infection can lead to more effective antibiotic therapy. A fungus could also cause your sinus infection. Confirming the presence of fungus is important. Fungal sinus infection needs to be treated with antifungal agents, rather than antibiotics. In addition, some forms of fungal sinus infection allergic fungal sinus infection, for example do not respond to antifungal agents and often require the use of oral steroids.
Can Allergies Cause Sinus Pressure
High pollen counts, dust mites and even your neighbors cat can flare up your allergies and have you begging for allergy relief. But as time passes, you might notice those allergy symptoms becoming more severe. Learn how your allergies can cause sinus pain and congestion, and what steps you can take to relieve sinus and allergy symptoms.
Also Check: Can You Go To Work With A Sinus Infection
Early Treatment Can Reduce The Need For Medications
Around half of all sinus infections will resolve without antibiotics. In people with frequent infections it is important to treat the underlying problems, such as allergy, and to treat symptoms quickly to prevent the need for antibiotics.
Examples of treatments include:
- Steam inhalations use a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head. This will help to thin the mucus and make it easier to drain
- Salt water irrigation of the nose using a commercial preparation will assist in nasal drainage
- Antibiotics should be prescribed if symptoms persist.
- Surgical removal of disease tissue, polyps and/or drainage of sinuses may be required for some people with chronic sinusitis, if medications do not control symptoms.
ASCIA is the peak professional body of clinical immunology/allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand.
ASCIA resources are based on published literature and expert review, however, they are not intended to replace medical advice. The content of ASCIA resources is not influenced by any commercial organisations.
For more information go to www.allergy.org.au
To donate to immunology/allergy research go to www.allergyimmunology.org.au
When To See Your Gp
Visit your 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 usually be based on your symptoms and any possible triggers you may have noticed. If the cause of your condition is uncertain, you may be referred for allergy testing.
Read more about the complications of allergic rhinitis
Don’t Miss: Sinus Infection How To Treat At Home
Can Seasonal Allergy Symptoms Come And Go
Yes, absolutely seasonal allergy symptoms can come and go.
Seasonal allergy symptoms show up when you are exposed to the allergen. When you remove your allergen exposure, your symptoms will start to go away.
Reintroducing yourself to the allergen will bring your seasonal allergy symptoms right back.
Key Difference Sinus Vs Allergies
The exaggerated and inappropriate immune responses that result in tissue damage and death are called the allergies. On the other hand, sinuses are air filled spaces present within some bones around the nasal cavity. From these definitions, you can understand that there is no similarity between these two at all. The key difference between sinus and allergies is that a sinus is an anatomical structure whereas an allergy is a physiological derangement. But in a pathological perspective, they are interconnected because an allergy is capable of inflaming the sinuses causing sinusitis.
Don’t Miss: Ways To Relieve Sinus Pressure In Ears
What Is Better For Allergies Flonase Or Allegra
It is a good first-choice treatment for allergies to the nose, but long-term use can cause nosebleeds if used for a long time. It does not make you feel drowsy, but it does relieve allergy symptoms. If you only need to take Flonase once a day, then you can do so. It can last up to 24 hours after being applied.
Sinus Infection Vs Allergies: What’s The Difference
Sinus infection is inflammation of the sinuses, caused by infection from bacteria, viruses, and/or fungi . A sinus infection that lasts three to eight weeks is considered acute. Sinus infections lasting longer than eight weeks are considered chronic. A sinus infection is often contagious and may be mistaken for the common cold. When sinus infections are caused by bacteria, an antibiotic treatment may be prescribed.
Signs and symptoms of sinus infection include runny or stuffy nose, greenish nasal discharge, cough, postnasal drip, tenderness of the face under the eyes or at the bridge of the nose, sinus headache, fever, tooth pain, fatigue, and bad breath. Home remedies for sinus infections are aimed at reliving symptoms and include staying hydrated, using a steam vaporizer, taking over-the-counter sinus or pain medications, and nasal irrigation with devices such as a Neti pot.
Allergicrhinitis occurs when certain allergies cause nasal symptoms. When a person with allergies breathes in an allergen, such as pollen, dust, or animal dander, symptoms such as runny or stuffy nose, itching, sneezing, and fatigue occur. Allergic rhinitis that is a result of allergic reactions to plant pollens is commonly called hay fever or seasonal allergies. Limiting exposure to allergy triggers can help reduce allergy symptoms.
You May Like: Home Care For Sinus Infection
Rhinitis Vs Sinusitis Symptoms And Attributes
Where most people get tied up understanding the difference between rhinitis and sinusitis is when they think about the symptoms. To help clarify this issue, here is a side-by-side comparison of rhinitis vs. sinusitis symptoms and other important attributes.
|Onset: Directly after exposure to allergen
|Onset: 1-2 weeks after exposure to contagious individual, or after 1-2 weeks of continuous congestion
|Duration: Symptoms disappear after allergens are no longer present
|Duration: 4-12 weeks or longer, depending on the severity of the infection
For more information on what to watch out for if you suspect you have a sinus infection, check out our article on Sinus Infection Symptoms.