Infection or allergies? What to know about springtime sinus
- Facial pressure and pain
- Pain along the teeth
- Pain along the cheeks when bending over
- Greenish/yellowish continuous drainage from the nose
- Symptoms lasting greater than 10 days
Signs and symptoms that indicate allergies include:
- Sneezing/stuffy nose
- Clear or whitish nasal drainage
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Itching of the nose
- Dark circles around the eyes
- Burning sensation in the eyes or nose
There are many different triggers of an allergy attack or sinus infection, depending on the time of year. “Here in Houston, if your allergies or sinuses tend to worsen in January through March, you more than likely have some type of allergy toward tree pollen. During March through July, we see an increase in grass pollen. From July through September, there is an increase in weed allergies. If you tend to suffer more in the in the colder months, you may be experiencing a reaction to mold in the air,” he said.
Because sinus infections and allergies share some similar symptoms, including congestion, medications like nasal sprays, oral antihistamines and eye drops can help minimize discomfort. Takashima says that if allergies are to blame it is best to avoid certain irritants to prevent further discomfort.
In addition, he says a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter for your home air conditioner can help filter out allergens and nasal saline irrigations are helpful to flush the irritants that make it into your nose. “The Sinus Center here at Baylor is also studying the beneficial effects of adding different ingredients into the rinses such as probiotics, baby shampoo, xylitol, to improve the efficacy of these irritants as it relates to the treatment of allergies and sinus infections,” he added.
You also can manage allergies by pre-medicating with allergy medicine prior to the start of months where you are known to experience symptoms, he said. For those who suffer from frequent sinusitis or allergy attacks and do not find medication that works, surgery may not be the only option.
“Advances in in-office procedures have significantly improved over the last several years, making these less invasive procedures, such as the placement of a self dissolving intranasal steroid stent for allergies/nasal polyps to balloon sinus dilation for recurrent sinusitis, a viable option,” he said.