If you find yourself suffering from itchy eyes, a runny nose, or congestion, you’re likely wondering what the problem could be. Many ailments have those symptoms, but it takes a specialist to determine what’s wrong. From the common cold or the flu to Las Vegas allergies and sinusitis, here is a breakdown of the problems you are experiencing and what they might mean.
What is sinusitis?
Sinusitis, or a sinus infection, is not the same thing as allergies. Each year, sinus infections impact over 30 million people in the US. Allergies can be diagnosed through allergy testing. Although it’s possible to contract a sinus infection regardless of your age or health, people who have asthma, allergies, or blockages in their nose or sinuses are more likely to develop sinusitis. The risk is also higher for people who have poor immune systems.
Sinusitis and Allergy Symptoms
A sinus infection can sometimes be mistaken for a cold or Las Vegas allergies, but allergy testing can help you distinguish one from the other. Most sinus infections are caused by bacterial infections. The problem can also stem from a virus or fungi. If you have a weak or compromised immune system, you may also have more problems with sinusitis than the average population. An acute sinus infection will last for about 3-8 weeks, but an infection that lasts longer is generally considered chronic.
Sinus infections can often be mistaken for the common cold or Las Vegas allergies. However, those ailments are usually quite similar in presentation. They can generally cause the same overlapping symptoms, including:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Facial pain
How are sinus infections treated?
Sinusitis is usually caused by bacteria, which requires a certain treatment for maximum efficacy. Sinus infections are commonly treated with antibiotics, although the kind of medication that is best for your case will depend on the bacteria causing the infection. An allergist can help you determine what kind of medication is best for managing your condition.
How is sinusitis diagnosed?
Sinusitis can be diagnosed by a visit to an allergist. Usually, a sinusitis diagnosis is relatively easy. If you go into an allergist to get tested for Las Vegas allergies and the tests return negative, it’s safe to assume that you are dealing with a sinus infection instead of allergies. If you do have a sinus infection, you can generally be treated with antibiotics to cure the infection.
Where are the sinuses located?
If you’re trying to pinpoint the cause of your sinus problems, you may find that the pain and source of your problems arise from several different points. Generally, the sinuses are air-filled cavities that are located in different places, including:
- Behind the eyebrows and forehead
- The sides of the nose bridge
- Behind the nose
If you experience any symptoms of sinusitis, it is essential to get treated as soon as possible. If you have an infection in the sinus cavity, it can quickly spread to the brain, which can be life-threatening or lead to other major complications.
What do normal sinuses look like?
Normally, your sinuses have a layer of mucus protects you from pathogens. This layer of mucus helps to trap germs, dust, and other pathogens that might get into the air. The sinuses are filled with tiny hair-like particles that catch particles of dirt, dust, germs, and other debris and send them to the back of your throat. From there, pathogens are sent down to the stomach and the intestinal system. Although this process might not make much sense to you, it is a normal human body function. If you have a sinus infection, the hair-like particles that send particles to the back of the throat become blocked and inflamed. This can happen due to illness or allergies. When it does happen, any mucus that is typically filtered through will become trapped in your sinuses.
Sometimes, people have inherent problems that can prevent their sinuses from processing contaminants correctly. That includes a deformity of the bone between the nasal passages, nasal polyps, which are benign growths with mucus, and narrowed sinus openings. People who have the sinus above generally suffer from chronic sinus problems.
What are the symptoms of sinusitis?
A sinus infection can have symptoms, including:
- Nasal stuffiness and congestion
- Postnasal drip
- Nasal discharge
- Facial tenderness
- Pain in the teeth
- Bad breath
While these symptoms may be indicative of a sinus infection, they may also be associated with other medical conditions, such as rhinitis. Rhinitis is a nasal passage ailment that causes irritation and nasal inflammation. Rhinitis, which is a potentially troublesome nasal problem, can be attributed to allergies or a cold most commonly.
What are the symptoms of nasal allergies?
Allergies that affect the nose can cause symptoms that are very similar to rhinitis. In the case of allergies, the passages of your nose can become inflamed, congested, and swollen. The most common cause of nasal allergies is pollen, but nasal allergies can be caused by other triggers, including pet dander, dust mites, and mold. Unlike other allergies that tend to be seasonal, many people experience nasal allergy symptoms year-round.
Along with allergies, you may experience asthma symptoms attributed to certain environmental pathogens. Sometimes, if you have chronic nasal irritation and inflammation, you are at a higher risk of developing asthma. You might also develop chronic sinusitis, leading to chronically inflamed nasal passages and related symptoms.
How is sinusitis diagnosed?
Sinus infections can be diagnosed by several symptoms, including:
- Facial tenderness
- Nasal tissue swelling
- Bad breath
To diagnose sinusitis, a Las Vegas allergist will look for several signs. For starters, allergies may be suspected if your symptoms last 6-8 weeks or more. If you are given an antibiotic that is not working, sinusitis may be to blame. An allergist may also perform a sinus CT scan to examine your nose through a light-guided flexible tube to diagnose the problem. A mucus culture may also be ordered if your sinus problems are chronic or have not improved despite several rounds of treatment. In more extreme cases, a biopsy may be performed to make sure that an infection has not spread to the adjacent bone.
How are allergies and sinusitis treated?
Sinusitis may be treated with antibiotics. Longer-term antibiotic treatments may be recommended if the infection has reached the bones. Nasal decongestant sprays may be recommended for people with allergies and less severe cases of sinusitis. Decongestant sprays are short-term solutions that are prescribed for three or four days. These sprays reduce swelling of the nasal passages and help drain fluid from the nasal passages. Be sure to use nasal sprays only as prescribed. Otherwise, you run the risk of developing chronic swelling in the nasal passages, which is a problem called the rebound phenomenon.
Make an appointment today for allergy and asthma relief by contacting Tottori Allergy and Asthma at (702) 240 4233 or scheduling an appointment online.