Nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, cough and sore throat – these are common symptoms you’ll experience when you have allergies (otherwise known as allergic rhinitis) or sinusitis. But how do you tell if you have one or the other?

Doctors from the Department of Otolaryngology​, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth​ group, helps to shed some light on the subject.

What are the symptoms of allergic​​​​ rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis occurs when your immune system mista​​kenly identifies a harmless substance that has entered your body through the nose, throat or eyes as something harmful. This prompts your immune system to release chemicals such as histamine, which bring about the symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis.

House dust mites, cockroaches, animal dander, pollen and airborne moulds are the main triggers of allergic rhinitis. They’re also called allergens as they can cause allergic reactions.

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies) include:

  1. Blocked nose​
  2. Runny nose
  3. Watery and itchy eyes
  4. ​Sneezing, especially in fits
  5. Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat

“A skin prick test can help identify allergy triggers,” say doctors from the Department of Otolaryngology​, Singapore General Hospital ​(SGH), a member of the​ SingHealth​ group.

“In a skin prick test, a special instrument is first used to lightly prick several areas around your forearm. Different t​ypes of allergens are then applied onto each scratch area. After 25 minutes, if any one of the scratched areas swells significantly, it is highly possible that you are allergic to that particular allergen.”​

See next page to learn about sinusitis (sinus infection)​.

Ref: O17​​