Pollen from trees, weeds and grasses can cause inflammation in the nose and sinuses.

What are hay fever and sinusitis?

Every spring, summer and fall, tiny grains of pollen are released from trees, weeds and grasses. Some of the pollen ends up in your nose and throat. This can trigger a type of allergy called hay fever.

Sinusitis occurs when your sinuses, the hollow air spaces within the bones surrounding the nose, are inflamed. Your sinueses produce mucus, which drains into the nose. If your nose is swollen, this can block the sinuses and cause pain. Sinusitis can be caused by an infection or allergies.

There are several types of sinusitis

  • Acute, which lasts up to four weeks
  • Subacute, which lasts four to 12 weeks
  • Chronic, which lasts more than 12 weeks and can continue for months or even years
  • Recurrent, with several attacks within a year

What causes hay fever and sinusitis?

Acute sinusitis often starts as a cold, which then turns into a bacterial infection. Allergies, nasal problems, and certain diseases can also cause acute and chronic sinusitis.

What are the symptoms of hay fever and sinusitis?

Symptoms of hay fever can include:

  • Sneezing, often with a runny or clogged nose
  • Coughing and postnasal drip
  • Itching eyes, nose and throat
  • Red and watery eyes
  • Dark circles under the eyes

Symptoms of sinusitis can include:

  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Mucus drainage in the back of the throat, called postnasal drip

How does Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center diagnose hay fever and sinusitis?

Your physician may diagnose hay fever based on a physical exam and your symptoms. Sometimes skin or blood tests are used. Sinusitis is diagnosed based on your symptoms and an examination of your nose and face. You may also need imaging tests.

How does Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center treat hay fever and sinusitis?

Taking medicines and using nasal sprays can relieve hay fever symptoms. You can also rinse out your nose using distilled or sterilized water with saline. Allergy shots can help make you less sensitive to pollen and provide long-term relief.

How does Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center treat hay fever and sinusitis?

Treatment of sinusitis includes antibiotics, decongestants and pain relievers. Using heat pads on the inflamed area, saline nasal sprays and vaporizers can also alleviate symptoms.

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