By: Michelle Martin, for St. Joseph Hospital
It’s springtime in New Hampshire, and we’ll often say, “It’s just allergies” when we have a stuffy nose. But we rarely say the same thing about sinusitis –– commonly known as a sinus infection. Both conditions can be equally debilitating, so it’s important to know which you have so you can properly treat it.
If you have any concerns that your symptoms could be related to COVID-19, be sure to let your doctor know so you can be tested and treated appropriately.
How much do you know about allergies and sinus infections? Take this quiz to learn more from Dr. Elizabeth Tseytlin at St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, New Hampshire.
1: True or false: Since sinus infections and seasonal allergies have some similar symptoms, they can be treated with the same type of medication.
Answer: b, False.
According to Tseytlin, sinus infections and allergies are two different conditions and although there is some overlap, they have different symptoms and causes. They also react differently to different medications. It’s important to know which condition you have so you can treat it properly and most effectively in Nashua, New Hampshire.
2: Which — or both — of these conditions can be contagious: allergies or a sinus infection?
B: A sinus infection
C: Both A and B
Answer: B, Sinus infection.
Usually caused by a virus, sinus infections can develop from the common cold, Tseytlin said. Allergies, which usually develop seasonally due to triggers, such as pollen or grass in Nashua, New Hampshire, are not contagious. Wash your hands frequently and practice good hygiene to avoid getting a sinus infection.
3: Itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing are most likely:
A: A sinus infection
Answer: b, allergies.
Nashua, New Hampshire residents can rest assured that these symptoms usually don’t accompany a sinus infection.
4: Which of these can be a symptom of a sinus infection?
A: Nasal congestion
B: Facial pain or pressure
C: Tooth discomfort
E: All of the above
Answer: e, all of the above.
Other symptoms include ear pressure and forehead pressure that gets worse when you lean forward, Tseytlin said. While people with sinus infections in Nashua, New Hampshire may not experience every one of these symptoms, having one or more is a good indication that you have a sinus infection and not allergies.
5: You should always ask your doctor for antibiotics if you suspect you have a sinus infection.
Answer: b, false.
About 90% of sinus infections are viral –– meaning antibiotics will not help alleviate symptoms. If your symptoms continue for weeks and are accompanied by a fever, it’s possible the infection is bacterial. If so, schedule an appointment with your doctor in Nashua, New Hampshire to see if you are a candidate for antibiotics.
6: Which of these conditions –– allergies or a sinus infection –– can be treated with over-the-counter medications?
B: A sinus infection
Answer: c, both.
Anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce inflammation from sinus infections. Nasal steroids can also help clear a stuffy nose, Tseytlin said. For allergies, you can use an over-the-counter medication to help relieve symptoms, available at local Nashua, New Hampshire pharmacies.
7: True or false: You can outgrow allergies.
Answer: a, true.
Some, but not all, residents of Nashua, New Hampshire can outgrow allergies –– but unfortunately there’s no way to know who will.
Is it the spring air in Nashua, New Hampshire, or something else? To learn more about the differences between allergies and sinus infections, visit https://www.stjosephhospital.com.