Summer Allergies & Sinus Infections
Sinus infections and summer allergies are both common conditions that can produce similar symptoms. In some cases, nasal allergies can even cause you to experience chronic sinus infections (or chronic sinusitis), and they often occur during high-allergen periods.
If you’re struggling with symptoms, here’s what you should know:
Symptoms of Chronic Sinusitis:
Symptoms often develop after a cold or during times of severe or ongoing allergy symptoms. Painful pressure in the cheeks, forehead, and behind the eyes are often the most obvious sign of sinusitis. Other symptoms include:
- Postnasal drip
- Thick yellow/green nasal discharge
What Causes a Sinus Infection?
Anything that obstructs sinus drainage can cause a buildup of mucus. Drainage from the sinuses can be obstructed by structural abnormalities of the nose, infection, or tissue swelling caused by allergies. People with allergic rhinitis and asthma are more likely to suffer from chronic sinusitis because the airways are more likely to become inflamed when these conditions are present.
In adults, chronic sinusitis most often is linked to nasal swelling caused by allergies, especially allergies to dust, mold, and pollen.
Because chronic sinusitis often is caused by inflammation related to allergies, identifying, treating, and preventing your allergies helps to relieve the sinusitis. Learn more about diagnosing and treating allergies:
Diagnosing Summer Allergies
The summer season comes with a new set of allergens for patients to be mindful of here in Georgia. Summer allergies are often caused by pollen from grasses, with some overlap from tree pollens in the late spring, and weed pollen which can appear as early as August. Hot, humid temperatures are also the perfect conditions for mold growth. Airborne mold spores also trigger allergy symptoms in those sensitive. Knowing the cause of your allergy symptoms is the first step in developing an effective treatment plan.
Untreated allergies can lead to other health conditions including sinus infections. Signs that you have undiagnosed allergies include sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and itchy eyes. Allergy testing performed by an allergy expert can identify what allergic triggers might be behind your chronic or recurring sinus infections.
Treatments to Control Allergies and Prevent Sinus Infections
Chronic sinusitis is typically not caused by a bacterial infection, so treating the condition with antibiotics usually doesn’t help. It is important to avoid activities and places that may aggravate your symptoms, especially if your symptoms relate to an allergy.
Avoid smoke and air pollutants. If you have allergies, you can help to prevent episodes of sinusitis by identifying and avoiding triggers, both indoor and outdoor, and by taking appropriate medications as directed. If your allergies are difficult to control, one of our allergy specialists may prescribe allergy immunotherapy (shots or drops) to treat your symptoms.
If you have recurring sinus infections, you may benefit from a complete allergy evaluation.
"Many patients come to me complaining of chronic sinus infections and do not realize that their untreated nasal allergies are contributing to their problems,” says Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia’s Dr. John Vickery. “If we get the allergies under control, they will experience significant improvement in the recurring infections.”
If you are experiencing symptoms of sinus infection or summer allergies, it is important to see an allergy expert like the providers at Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia. An appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan will provide you with the steps to take control of symptoms and ward off sinus infections. This will lead to better overall health as well as a better quality of life.
Book a consultation with a board-certified allergy expert at Center for Allergy and Asthma of Georgia.