Allergic rhinitis Cold Sinusitis

Stuffy or Runny Nose? Is it a Cold or a Nose Allergy? Understand the Difference Between Allergies and Colds in One Minute!

Little Nancy has been breathing with her mouth open every night when she goes to bed recently. Her nasal congestion is very serious. When she wakes up in the morning, she keeps sneezing and has a runny nose. Nancy’s mother thought: “Nancy obviously had a cold a while ago, but why did she suddenly have symptoms of a cold again?” while soaking vitamin C and giving it to Nancy.

How to distinguish allergies from colds? The following paragraphs will explain to you the differences between allergies, colds, and sinusitis, so that families with children or allergic patients can prescribe the right medicine as soon as possible to improve their life and health.

Differences between allergic rhinitis, colds, and sinusitis

1.Allergic rhinitis

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis are very similar to the early symptoms of a cold. Typical symptoms include clear watery nasal discharge, sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy nose, and itchy eyes. Reflux of nasal discharge can lead to a dry and itchy throat, throat clearing sounds and chronic coughing. Therefore, allergic rhinitis may also cause coughing.

The most significant difference between allergic rhinitis and colds is “itch”. Allergic rhinitis is often accompanied by itching in the nose, eyes, deep ear canals, throat and other parts. Therefore, when identifying whether the symptoms are allergic rhinitis, you can pay attention to whether the above parts are itchy as one of the criteria for judgment.

In addition, patients with allergic rhinitis sometimes develop allergic conjunctivitis, which causes itching of the conjunctiva and eyelids, red and swollen eyes, watery eyes, photophobia, and may be complicated by hydrops in the middle ear. If you breathe through your mouth due to long-term nasal congestion, your throat will also be easily inflamed. If you meet the above symptoms, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible and receive professional diagnosis and treatment from a physician.

2. Cold

Colds are caused by viral infections of the upper respiratory tract, and rhinovirus is the most common. The initial symptoms are mainly nasal symptoms, such as runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing. Later, cough, sore throat, headache, and fever may occur. , body aches and fatigue and other symptoms.

Therefore, in terms of initial symptoms, colds and allergic rhinitis are very similar. However, colds usually resolve within 7 to 10 days. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis vary depending on allergic factors, such as seasonal, year-round, environmental and other factors. It lasts for different periods of time, but generally it lasts longer, possibly as long as weeks or months.


Most acute sinusitis is a viral infection, but sometimes the sinuses can also form acute sinusitis due to secondary bacterial infection (only 0.5~2%). Common bacteria include Streptococcus pneumoniae (20~34%), followed by They are Haemophilus influenzae (22~35%) and Moraxella catarrhalis (2~10%).

Typical symptoms of sinusitis include swelling and pain in the cheeks or forehead, cough, yellow nasal discharge, yellow-green purulent nasal discharge, etc., which are different from the clear watery nasal discharge of allergic rhinitis.

Sinusitis can be subdivided according to the time of onset:

  • Acute: Recover within 4 weeks.
  • Subacute: duration of disease is greater than 4 weeks and less than 12 weeks.
  • Recurrent acute: attacks more than 4 times in 1 year.
  • Chronic: Symptoms persist for more than 12 weeks
SymptomsAllergic RhinitisCold Sinusitis
Transparent watery nasal fluidSeriousNoYes
Yellow purulent nasal fluidNoSeriousSometimes
Nasal congestionSeriousAll the timesYes
Itch EyesAll the timeSometimeNo
Black EyesAll the timesSometimeNo
FeverNoYesAll the times
HeadacheSometimesYesAll the times
Muscle acheNoNoAll the times
Facial swelling and painSometimesAll the timesSometimes

Allergic rhinitis, cold, and sinusitis treatments

1.Allergic rhinitis treatment

  • Find and stay away from allergens (dust mites, smoke, mold, cat hair) through home observation.
  • Medication treatments such as anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, steroid nasal sprays, etc.
  • If the patient is complicated by nasal polyps or structural abnormalities of the nasal passages, such as deviated nasal septum, chronic hypertrophic inferior turbinate, adenoid hypertrophy, etc., and does not respond well to drug treatment, surgery can be used to treat nasal passage obstruction.

2. Cold treatment

Most clinical treatments for colds focus on relieving symptoms. Doctors will give different drugs according to the symptoms, such as cough suppressants for coughs, analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs for sore throats, and antipyretics for fevers. However, recovery still requires the patient’s own immunity. To eliminate the virus, you need to rest more and drink more water when you have a cold to facilitate the functioning of the body’s immune system.

Generally speaking, after a person is infected by a virus (cold), the body will develop resistance in 5 to 7 days. If the symptoms are mild, the cold will resolve on its own without taking medicine. However, if the symptoms last for more than 2 weeks, you must Pay attention to whether it develops into tonsillitis, sinusitis, otitis media or even meningitis. It is recommended to seek medical treatment as soon as possible to avoid delaying treatment.

3.Sinusitis treatment

  • Acute viral sinusitis: Use anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, intranasal steroid sprays, saline nasal flush therapy, etc. to relieve symptoms, and wait for the patient’s immune system to kill the virus and recover.
  • Acute bacterial sinusitis: The same treatment as acute viral sinusitis is adopted, plus broad-acting antibiotics. The treatment period is 10 to 14 days.
  • Chronic sinusitis: If drug treatment for sinusitis does not work for up to 3 months, it is classified as chronic sinusitis. The doctor will consider endoscopic surgical intervention to remove the xenobiotic tissue and nasal polyps blocking the sinuses and expand the sinus openings. Provide adequate ventilation and drainage of the nasal cavity and sinuses.

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