How to distinguish between nasal allergy and sinusitis?

During summer season some people have stuffy nose, reduced sense of smell, taste etc. Thinking that these are the symptoms of nasal allergy most of them run to the nearest nasal allergy clinic and get over the counter medications prescribed.   A nasal allergy doctor has opined that these symptoms can be caused due to sinusitis also. According to a survey report of the America’s allergy and asthma foundation, most of the patients are unable to distinguish between allergy and sinusitis. In this study 600 patients of asthma and allergy took part and it was found that half of them have diagnosed their disease as asthma whereas actually the disease was sinusitis.

Statistics show that the number of Americans suffering from nasal allergy comes to 5 million and that from sinusitis amounts to 6 million. Yet most of these people are not able to find out what is the disease they are suffering from. This often leads to mistreatment or untreated condition.

I am furnishing below a comparative study of the symptoms and its applicability to both these diseases.


This is an inflammation of the tissue lining of the sinus. Normally sinus is filled with air. But they may get blocked and filled with fluid causing the growth of germs leading to infection necessitating the intervention of nasal allergy doctor. Conditions that may lead to the blockage of sinus are given below

  • Common cold
  • Nasal polyps which are the growths in the lining inside the nose
  • Allergic rhinitis or swelling caused to  the lining of the nose
  • Deviated septum which means a change in the nasal cavity

Nasal allergy

This type of allergy occurs when immune system overreacts to allergens like dust, pollen etc.  Symptoms start within minutes of exposure to allergens and the usual symptoms like runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing etc appear immediately. It can also affect the ability to work, affect the sleep and affect the concentration in school etc necessitating immediate treatment in a nasal allergy clinic MD. Usually symptoms develop in the winter season.

Comparison of common symptoms

Nasal discharge: in Sinusitis the nasal discharge will be thick and yellowish green whereas in allergies it will be thin, clean and watery.

Fever:  Sometimes fever is felt in the case of sinusitis. But in the case of allergy no fever is felt at all.

Pain in upper teeth:  Pain in upper teeth is felt sometimes in the case of sinusitis. But in the case of allergy no such pain is felt.

Bad breath:  Sometimes Bad breath is felt in the case of sinusitis. But in the case of allergy no such pain is felt.

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