It’s spring time and you have a stuffy nose, sinus pain, fatigue and reduced sense of smell and taste. You head to the local pharmacy for over the counter medication to treat your allergies. There is only one problem, these are the symptoms of a sinus infection, not allergies. Most allergy patients can’t tell the difference, according to a recent survey by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
In an online survey of more than 600 asthma and allergy patients, researchers found that about half of those surveyed self-diagnosed their symptoms as allergies when they actually had a sinus infection, or sinusitis.
“This study shows how often people misdiagnose themselves. It’s a natural response to go online and come up with our own diagnosis, but many patients come in convinced they have allergies, when really they have a sinus infection or vice versa,” says Dr. Steven Shotts, an ear, nose, and throat doctor at Advanced ENT and Allergy.
Thirty-five million Americans suffer from allergies and over 7 million suffer from chronic sinus infections, yet most people can’t tell the difference between these two conditions.
“There is a lot confusion between sinus and allergy symptoms,” says Dr. Shotts. This can lead to mistreated or untreated conditions, which can lead to “chronic nasal congestion and associated symptoms” that can affect quality of life as well as daytime performance.
Below is a chart that may help determine if you are suffering from allergies or a sinus infection. The best option is to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians who can help determine the cause of your symptoms and find a treatment plan to get the relief you need.