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How to Tell if You Have Allergies or Sinusitis

When you suffer from allergies, or allergic rhinitis, you might experience a lot of uncomfortable symptoms. So when you feel under the weather, it can be difficult to tell if it’s just your allergy symptoms acting up or sinusitis (also known as a sinus infection). Here’s a quick look at the difference between allergies and a sinus infection.



What is it?

Inflammation in
the nose1

Inflammation of the sinuses
(located in the forehead,
cheekbones, and behind the nose)1

What causes it?

Indoor and
outdoor allergens1

Sinus infection (usually caused by
a virus or bacteria). But can also be caused by nasal polyps or a deviated
nasal septum.2

What are the symptoms?

Sneezing, runny nose,
nasal congestion, and itchy, watery eyes1

Thick yellowy mucus, sinus pressure (tenderness and swelling around the
eyes, cheeks, nose and forehead), and reduces sense of smell and taste1*

Did you know?

Your skull has four pairs of sinuses, or hollow spaces, called the paranasal sinuses. Sinuses help lighten the skull, warm and humidify inhaled air, and give resonance to the voice and shape to the face. They are lined with the same kind of tissue that lines the inside of your nose.1,3


*FLONASE® is not indicated to treat these symptoms.

Sources : 

1. Rhinitis and Sinusitis. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2015, from  

2. Acute sinusitis causes. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2015, from

3. O'Rahilly, MD, R. (2008). The nose and paranasal sinuses. In Basic Human Anatomy (p. Ch. 52). Dartmouth Medical School.