Is it Allergies or Sinusitis?

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Pollen. Its the magical fairy dust of spring. A rite of passage: yellow cars, yellow lawn furniture and beautiful blooming yellow flowers in your garden. It started in \ mid-February and will be with us until blossoms fall in April. If you're like most of us, its also natures way of officially welcoming allergy season. After all, 35 million Americans suffer from nasal allergies and more than 37 million suffer from chronic sinus infections. But how do you know if its allergies or something more? Below are a few signs to help you tell the difference between these two conditions. Signs of allergies:
  • Nasal congestion
  • Clear nasal drip
  • Itchy eyes
  • A burning sensation in eyes or nose
Signs of sinusitis:
  • Fever and fatigue
  • Mild headache
  • Chronic cough
  • Thick, green mucus
  • Symptoms last more than 10 to 14 days
If you suffer from any of the above symptoms and they don't resolve within a week or so (and are unlikely to be a cold or flu), see your physician, who may refer you to an allergist or an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist. In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you get through the next few weeks:
  • Don't open your doors and windows, even if the weather is nearly perfect because it lets pollen inside your house or car. Instead, use your air conditioner. And by all means, break out the dust cloth and vacuum cleaner!
  • Pollen counts are highest in the morning or until it rains. So keep that in mind if you're planning outdoor activities. You may want to stay inside during the morning.
  • If your kids are on spring break this week, or just playing outside, have them brush their hair or change their clothes as soon as they come inside. This way, they won't track pollen inside.
  • Get your kids to shower or bath in the evening so they aren't tracking pollen into their beds. Hair is a pollen magnet.
  • Have a furry friend? Chances are Fido is bringing a lot of pollen inside your home. Brush him before he comes in to cut down on pollen and stray pet hair!

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