Cold, allergy or sinusitis: find out the differences!

Cold, allergy or sinusitis: find out the differences!

The cold weather and the increased humidity of the air represent the perfect conditions for the abundant and aqueous nasal mucosities, for the sore throats and for the conjunctivitis, but when such symptoms affect your baby for a longer period of one week or if they appear and disappear in depending on the changes of the environment, you need a correct diagnosis to treat them properly.

Whether it is a common cold, an allergic reaction or sinusitis, a correct diagnosis is the key to effective treatment of the problem and rapid relief of symptoms.

While colds are caused by viruses, allergies are caused by exposure to allergens. Both medical conditions can degenerate and culminate with the installation of a sinus infection. Such an infection obstructs the normal drainage of the mucosa, often manifested by unbearable pain and uncomfortable cranial and ocular pressure.

People suffering from asthma or food allergies, rhinitis and allergic conjunctivitis or skin allergies are more at risk of sinusitis and sinus infection, precisely because they can become congested due to allergens or respiratory dysfunction. The most common allergens that contribute to the onset of sinusitis are flower pollen, dust and cigarette smoke.

Most cases of sinusitis can be remedied without antibiotics, and treatment with drugs that help decongest sinuses, sprays and nasal drops, with humidifiers, hot packs or salt water can significantly or even completely reduce symptoms in just two weeks.

Allergy sufferers can be treated progressively to reduce the risk of sinusitis, but such treatments, which often involve the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, should only be given on the recommendation and under the supervision of an allergist.

Symptoms of colds, allergies and sinusitis and diagnosis of these conditions

Allergies and colds are similar. Constipation is a common sign of both conditions, as well as aqueous and abundant nasal mucositis or, on the contrary, nasal congestion. Frequent tears and eye irritations may also be signs of allergies or colds, as well as noisy breathing, caused by airway deficiencies.

While such symptoms may be accompanied by colds, muscle aches and sore throats, allergies only occur when the patient is exposed to allergens that the immune system requires.

Sinusitis manifests through pain in the forehead, eyes and cheeks; the nasal mucosa becomes more opaque and viscous, the breath can be foul, the cough and sore throat are almost imminent, and fatigue and lack of energy, as well as slight increases in temperature can also be symptoms of sinusitis.

If the cold is caused by viruses and its symptoms do not last for more than a few days, allergic episodes can return whenever patients are exposed to allergens and manifest rapidly after this exposure.

In the case of sinusitis, when the symptoms last more than two weeks but less than four weeks, it is classified as acute; when the symptoms last longer than three months, the condition is chronic.

The table below shows the differences between the three types of conditions:

Treatments and recommendations for colds, allergies and sinusitis

Colds are often treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and rarely, especially in children, are given antibiotics to treat them. Medications that reduce fever are also often recommended, as well as nasal decongestion or pain relievers.

In the case of allergies, it is very important to avoid the allergens that cause them, respectively the proper hygiene; antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drugs will be prescribed by the doctor, as well as nasal sprays or eye drops.

Sinusitis is treated by more complex pathways, such as sinus drainage or puncture, but sometimes surgery is also needed to remedy it, such as the removal of large polyps or surgery for septal deviation.

Drug treatment may include antibiotics, especially if it is an infection.

Tags Cold symptoms Symptoms Allergies children