Aid for Allergies Cuts Sinus Infections

Posted by on Mar 28, 2016

Aid for Allergies Cuts Sinus Infections

Each spring when pollen counts soar, allergy symptoms blast off into the stratosphere. Common signs include a runny nose, itchy throat, sneezing, nasal congestion, teary eyes, and sometimes a sinus infection. Wait a second—a sinus infection?

That’s right. Unfortunately, sinus infections frequently afflict people who already have more than enough trouble from allergies.

Here’s how the unease of allergies may set you up for a sinus infection and what you can do about it.

Link between hay fever and sinusitis

About 35 million Americans have allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. And another 31 million people in this country suffer from a sinus infection every year. Although people with the one are not always the same as people with the other, many times they are. What is the connection?

In both children and adults, studies have detailed an association between nasal allergies and sinus infections.

Acute sinusitis. This starts abruptly like a typical cold and may start to get better, but then gets worse, or lingers beyond 10 days in the sinuses. Pain in the face and teeth, fever, and a thick, greenish nasal discharge are typical.

Studies indicate that about half of all children with allergies have problems with acute sinus infections. Likewise, about 25 percent of adults with an acute sinus infection have allergies. Adults and kids with year-round allergies to mold and dust mites are especially prone to repeated acute infections of their sinuses.

Chronic sinusitis. In this condition, nasal congestion and drainage, postnasal drip, cough and fatigue start gradually and last longer than 30 days.

Several studies have shown that up to 67 percent of adults with chronic sinus infections also have allergies. And, in one study, 37 percent of children with chronic sinusitis turned up positive for allergies on skin testing. 

Allergy treatment beneficial

Sinus infections are no joke. The discomfort they create contributes to learning difficulties at school, loss of productivity at work, and reduced quality of life. In fact, sinus infections are one of the most frequent reasons for people to call their doctors.

The good news is that treatment of allergies can help reduce recurrent episodes of acute sinusitis. Studies also suggest that better hay fever management may help resolve symptoms in patients with both allergies and chronic sinusitis.

Consult your doctor if you have allergies, sinus problems, or both. Curbing allergy symptoms may help you avoid or minimize sinus infections. For a complete rundown on your allergy treatment options, refer to my book Allergy Guide: Alternative & Conventional Solutions. Click here for more information:

This post is written by Elizabeth S. Smoots, MD. Dr. Smoots’ blog is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Before adhering to any recommendations in this blog consult your healthcare provider. ©2012 Elizabeth S. Smoots, MD, LLC.
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