Taking Care of an Ill Loved One

What Is Causing Your Respiratory Symptoms?

It's springtime and the living is stuffy. You have congestion, sneezing, and drainage, so you figure allergy season has struck with a vengeance. Since you are not a professional, you may be misinterpreting your symptoms. As a result, you need to know the difference between allergy symptoms and those of other respiratory issues.


Respiratory allergies are caused by pollen, mold, dust mites, and other triggers in the air that you breathe. Symptoms include red itchy eyes, a congested or runny nose, headache, poor sleep, coughing, shortness of breath, and other disturbing symptoms. You may also notice difficulties in concentration. Indoor allergens can cause you problems all year long while pollen will hit you hardest in the spring and fall.


Sinusitis symptoms are similar to allergy symptoms, leading people to misdiagnose their respiratory issues. Approximately 37 million US residents have at least one sinusitis attack each year. The symptoms of acute sinusitis include facial pressure, stuffy nose, runny nose, cough, and inability to smell. You may also develop fatigue, fever, and bad breath along with green or yellowish nasal discharge. In some instances, you may need antibiotics to clear up the condition.


The common cold shares the symptoms of both allergies and acute sinusitis with a few important differences. For one, colds are contagious, unlike the other two conditions. You usually develop a cold within a few days after being exposed to someone with the virus. You can get the runny and stuffy nose, cough, congestion, and sore throat that can occur with other conditions. Sometimes you will also develop a fever. However, you should ride out a cold in a week or two, whereas the other conditions can continue for months. 


Unfortunately, people tend to self-diagnosis their problems, often incorrectly. They continually confuse their sinusitis with allergies and allergies with colds. Again, the duration of the symptoms can help you determine which condition you have, but even that is not foolproof. You really need to seek the help of a medical professional for symptoms that last several weeks without improvement. The doctor can determine if you need a prescription drug or whether OTC medications can help you. For instance, fluticasone nasal spray is often recommended for all three conditions.

Even though respiratory conditions often have similar symptoms, they require a different treatment approach.  Your physician can diagnosis the actual issue and prescribe the appropriate medications and other treatments. They do have one thing in common: fluticasone nasal spray can work on all three conditions. However, the doctor may prescribe additional medications or therapies depending on which condition you have.