Allergic rhinitis is a general term used to describe allergic reactions that take place in the nose and nasal passages. Symptoms may include sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, and itching of the nose, the eyes or the roof of the mouth. When triggered by pollens or outdoor molds – especially during the spring, summer or fall – the condition often is called “hay fever” or seasonal allergy. When the problem is caused by exposure to house dust mites, pets, indoor molds or other allergy triggers at home, school or work, it is called perennial allergic rhinitis. These symptoms are effectively treated with medication or immunotherapy (allergy shots).
Sinus infections, also called sinusitis, are common in people with allergies that affect the nose such as allergic rhinitis. The constant stuffy and runny nose can inflame the nasal passages and make them swell. Symptoms include a runny nose with a thick discharge, cough and occasionally pain in the forehead, around and in between the eyes, or in the upper jaw, cheeks and teeth. In some cases, sinusitis can be chronic and cause several infections a year. People with asthma are more likely to have chronic sinus infections that can complicate their disease and make their symptoms more severe.