Sinus and Allergy - Frequently Asked Questions
Are the symptoms of a sinus infection different than a cold?
The symptoms of a sinus infection are almost the same as a cold. The main difference is the length of time. A sinus infection, generally caused by bacteria, is a cold that last for more than 10 days to two weeks.
How do I know when my child has sinusitis?
The following symptoms may indicate a sinus infection in your child:
- a "cold" lasting more than 10 to 14 days, sometimes with a low-grade fever and a thick yellow-green nasal drainage
- post-nasal drip (sometimes leading to or exhibited as sore throat)
- cough, bad breath, nausea, and/or vomiting
- headache, usually in children age six or older
- irritability or fatigue
- swelling around the eyes
Young children have immature immune systems and are more prone to infections of the nose, sinus, and ears, especially in the first several years of life. These are most frequently caused by viral infections (colds), and they may be aggravated by allergies. However, when your child remains ill beyond the usual week to ten days, a serious sinus infection is likely.
How will the physician treat sinusitis?
Most children respond very well to antibiotic therapy. Nasal decongestants or topical nasal sprays may also be prescribed for short-term relief of stuffiness. Nasal saline (saltwater) drops or gentle spray can be helpful in thinning secretions and improving mucous membrane function.
If your child has acute sinusitis, symptoms should improve within the first few days. Even if your child improves dramatically within the first week of treatment, it is important that you continue therapy until all the antibiotics have been taken. Our physician may decide to treat your child with additional medicines if he/she has allergies or other conditions that make the sinus infection worse.
Which allergen is most common in damp, humid weather?
Mold allergens thrive in moist, wet environments such as basements and showers.
What are Pollens?
Pollens are tiny egg-shaped powdery grains released from plants, trees, grasses and weeds which are carried by the wind. When pollen is present in the air, it can get in a person’s eyes, nose, lungs and or their skin to set up an allergic reaction. Symptoms may include allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic conjunctivitis (eye allergies) and allergic asthma.
What Causes Springtime Allergies?
Spring allergies are a result of pollen from trees, which can start pollinating anytime from January to April, depending on the climate and location. Trees that are known to cause severe allergies include oak, cottonwood, elm, birch, ash, hickory, sycamore, maple and walnut. In some areas of the world, some weeds will also pollinate in springtime.
What Causes Summertime Allergies?
Grass pollen is typically the main cause of late spring and early summer allergies. Grass pollen is highest at these times. However, grass may cause allergies through much of the year if someone is mowing the lawn or lying in the grass. Contact with grass can result in itching and hives in people who are allergic to grass pollen, this is called contact urticarial.
What Causes Fall Allergies
Weed pollen is the main cause of seasonal allergy in late summer and early fall. Depending on the area of North America, these weeds include ragweed, pigweed, lambs quarter, kochia and cocklebur. In some areas of the world, some trees can pollinate in the fall as well.
How do I know what Pollens are Present?
In most areas, pollen is measured and counted, with the different types of pollen identified. This may be reported in terms of trees, weeds and grasses, or may be further divided into the types of trees and weeds identified. Specific grasses are not usually identified on pollen counts, as grasses look the same under a microscope.
How Can I Avoid Pollen Exposure?
Unlike avoidance of pet dander and dust mites, it is more difficult to avoid exposure to pollens, since it is present in the outdoor air. Here are some tips to minimize pollen exposure:
- Minimize early morning activity when pollen is usually emitted between 5-10 a.m.
- Stay indoors when the pollen count is reported to be high and on windy days when pollen may be present in higher amounts in the air.
- Machine dry bedding and clothing. Pollen may collect in laundry if it is hung outside to dry.
- Keep your windows and outside doors closed as much as possible to prevent pollen from entering your home.
- Keep your car windows rolled up when driving; use your air-conditioning
- If you have to be outdoors, wear sunglasses to minimize pollen in your eyes. Remove your clothing when you come indoors; shower and wash your hair.
- Keep pets that spend time outdoors out of your bedroom, because they can bring in pollen on their fur.
- Don’t rake leaves during pollen season.
- Have someone else mow your grass if possible. If you must mow your lawn wear a mask.