Home Health  Is It An Allergy Or A Sinus Infection?

 Is It An Allergy Or A Sinus Infection?


The symptoms of a sinus infection and an allergy are pretty similar. Symptoms like nasal congestion, fatigue, headache and sinus pressure are common in both conditions. Sometimes, it might even be difficult for a primary care physician to determine the difference. 

ENT Metairie, LA is advised by many if you want to get your condition diagnosed accurately. 

So, how do you differentiate between the two? What are the minor differences that set both these conditions apart? 

Read on to find out!

What is the difference between an allergy and a sinus infection?

Sinus infections and allergies are often mistaken for one another because their symptoms are similar. But how do we differentiate between the two? First, you need to understand how each of these ailments is caused. 

Firstly, allergies happen when your immune system interprets something harmless as a potential risk and starts generating antibodies called histamines to eliminate them. Known as an allergic reaction, it starts showing symptoms like:

  • Nasal congestion 
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing 
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Wheezing, etc. 

When the intensity of these allergies increases, so do the symptoms. You might be allergic to mold, pollen, pet dander, etc. When these allergens are present in your immediate surroundings, your body will react with an allergic reaction. 

On the other hand, a sinus infection usually occurs when your nasal passages are swollen. These are quite common, and are generally caused by a virus. In fact, Sinusitis affects more than 14% of the U.S. population

The most common symptoms of Sinusitis include:

  • Bad breath 
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Thick, colored mucus
  • Fatigue
  • Light fever
  • Pain in teeth 
  • Headache

A few of these symptoms match with an allergic reaction. However, one of the key factors differentiating between the two is itchy eyes. Allergies generally cause your eyes to itch and water, whereas a sinus infection doesn’t. 

To give you a better idea, here is a symptom comparison table to help you differentiate between the two conditions efficiently:

Symptoms Allergies Sinusitis
Itchy, watery eyesYesNo 
Nasal congestionYes Yes 
HeadacheYes Yes 
Unable to blow your noseNo Yes 
FeverNo Yes 
SneezingYes No 
Difficulty breathing through the noseYes Yes 
Pain around cheeks and eyesNo Yes 
Bad breathNo Yes 
Tooth painNo Yes 
Thick, yellow/green dischargeNo Yes 


The treatments for these also share both similarities and differences. If you have severe congestion with both ailments, a prescribed decongestant or over-the-counter medications are the way to go. This will break down the mucus in the nasal cavity. 

Allergies are generally treated with antihistamines. They stop your body from producing the chemical histamine, bringing on fewer symptoms. 

On the other hand, sinus infections can generally be cleared by the following practices:

  • Take abundant rest 
  • Use saline for nasal passage hydration 
  • Drink clear fluids (broth, water, etc.)

Understanding the difference between a sinus infection and an allergy is vital. Since the treatment methods of both these ailments vary, you need to understand what brings the onset of both conditions to tackle either one effectively. 

Consult a reliable ENT Metairie, LA, so that your hunch is confirmed by an expert medical opinion as well. Rest up, take the appropriate medication, and get back to your feet soon.