That Sneezing Feeling

If you have noticed a lot of sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and itchy eyes recently, you are not alone. While you may be concerned that you have a sinus infection, your symptoms are more likely due to allergies. Pollen counts have been high, particularly ragweed. How do you know if your symptoms are due to allergies rather than a sinus infection? If your congestion is accompanied by sneezing, clear runny nose, and itching eyes – it’s probably allergies. It may be a sinus infection if your symptoms include pain and pressure in the face or teeth, fever, and nasal drainage that is more purulent (think thick and green). Even when there is infection present, only a small percentage of the time is it due to bacteria that requires antibiotics. Antibiotics may be necessary if you have the symptoms of a sinus infection noted above, and those symptoms have been present for 7-10 days or longer. If symptoms are more consistent with allergies, then that is usually treated with antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays. If you are curious about how high the pollen counts are in our area and what allergens are causing the most problems, check out this link:

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Ryan Frazine, MD