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Understanding the Difference between Allergies and a Sinus Infection

Sometimes it's hard to tell the differences between seasonal allergies and a sinus infection. Both these conditions have symptoms that mimic each other. In fact, many people seek the help of their neighborhood urgent care walk-in clinic in Suwanee, GA, thinking they’re suffering from allergies when it’s something more serious. Keep reading to learn more about how to tell what’s causing you to feel so bad.

The 411 on Seasonal Allergies

First, it’s important to understand what an allergy is and how it occurs in the body. Seasonal allergies happen when there’s a lot of pollen in the air and trees and flowers are in bloom. Many people believe that seasonal allergies only happen in the spring when plants release pollen particles and mold spores, but they can also happen in the fall during the reblooming period. When a person is sensitive to a particular allergen, such as pollen, ragweed, or mold, the body releases histamines to keep the allergen from infecting the body’s immune system. This results in uncomfortable symptoms, such as a scratchy throat, runny nose, couching, and sneezing.

Allergies are uncomfortable but they typically respond quickly to antihistamines. If you visit an urgent walk-in clinic and the health care professionals determine you’re suffering from allergies, they will probably suggest treatment that includes taking an over-the-counter antihistamine medication, such as Claritin or Benadryl. They may also suggest that you get tested to find out is triggering your allergies if you don’t already know what you’re sensitive to.

How a Sinus Infection Differs from Allergies

At first, a sinus infection may feel a lot like allergies, especially if you suffer from seasonal allergies. However, a sinus infection quickly turns into an altogether different beast and is identified by the following symptoms:

  • Pressure in the face
  • Runny nose that’s yellow, green, or cloudy
  • Facial pain
  • Severe congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Tooth pain

If you visit an urgent care for sinus infection treatment because you think you have a sinus infection, the doctor will likely prescribe plenty of fluids and rest. They may recommend some of the same over-the-counter medications that treat allergy symptoms to relieve congestion and sore throat symptoms, but they won’t prescribe antibiotics. The reason is that sinus infections are a viral infection and don’t respond to antibiotics.

How Long Will It Take to Feel Better?

This is a question that urgent care services get asked by their patients all the time. If you’re suffering from a sinus infection, expect to feel better in about 1-2 weeks. The infection needs to run its course. Taking decongestants and getting rest is the best way to treat a sinus infection.

Allergy symptoms might take longer to go away depending on what contaminants in the air are aggravating you. Usually, people highly sensitive to pollen will feel better when it rains because it washes the pollen away. However, the timeline for feeling better depends on environmental factors and can last anywhere from two days to several weeks depending on the severity of your allergic reaction.

If you live in Suwanee and aren’t sure if you have allergies or a sinus infection, visit Gwinnett Urgent Care to be seen by health care professionals today! In addition to finding relief for allergies and sinus infections, you can also visit our urgent care for sore throat treatment.

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Call 770-831-5525