Allegies and Infections

When it comes to allergies and infections, it isn't unusual for the nasal symptoms that accompany an allergy attack to linger and spread. In fact, you may find that when the sneezing and itchiness lessens, you're left with more intense congestion, a severe headache, and possibly tenderness or pain when you touch your cheeks or forehead. These are some of the common signs that you could have a sinus infection.

How Sinus Infections Happen

Sinus infections affect 31 million people each year, and people with allergies are at increased risk to experience this condition. This is because when your nasal passages are swollen as they often are during an allergy attack, they don't always do their job correctly. To understand the relationship, it helps to know how the sinuses work.

The sinuses are cavities that are located in your cheeks, on the sides of the bridge of your nose, between your eyes and your forehead and behind your nose. When your sinuses are healthy, their lining has a thin mucus coating that traps dust, germs and various air particles, so they can be removed by the tiny hairs housed inside your nasal passages. But when your allergies kick in, the act of working to trap allergy triggers such as dust and pollen can also cause your nasal passages to become inflammed. This can leave the mucus trapped inside your sinus cavities and can lead to an infection.

The Symptoms

If you have allergy symptoms that don't seem to be going away and you find them accompanied by severe stuffiness, pain and a fever, these are good indications that you could have a sinus infection. Here are some of the other signs to be on the lookout for:

  • Postnasal drip
  • Discharge with a greenish tint
  • Tender spots on your face and forehead
  • Tooth pain
  • Bad breath

If you suspect you could have a sinus infection, it is important to see your doctor. Often antibiotics are needed to treat it.

Fight Back

In addition, you should also take steps to break the allergies and infections connection. Most allergists recommend that you use your allergy medications as directed in order to help keep your symptoms in check. Some of the latest nasal sprays can be effective to reverse inflammation in your nasal cavities and passages and to prevent it. Antihistamines can also help to block an allergic reaction.

In addition, in case you do experience allergies despite your best efforts, you can ask your doctor about possible options such as nasal saline sprays and decongestants that can help to relieve some of your symptoms and try to help prevent sinus inflammation and blockages. With a little effort, you can take control of your allergies and prevent infections.




American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

Florida Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Society