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As Arizona warms up, here’s how to tell if it’s allergies or a sinus infection

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LISTEN: Allergies or sinus infection

PHOENIX — Arizona is beginning to warm up as spring approaches, which means more of us will be waking up with a stuffy nose and a hacking cough.

But it can be difficult to tell when you’re allergic to something in the air or you have a full-blown sinus infection.

Dr. Devin Minior, the chief medical officer for Banner Health Urgent Care, said what most people experience are allergies.

“It’s been raining outside; it’s starting to heat up,” he said. “We’ve … started to see more pollen in the air.”

“Most of the cases are going to be mild environmental allergies that can really just be treated over the counter,” Minior said. “(A person should) certainly be coming into the urgent care if it’s more severe – like a … really bad cough or facial pain.”

A sinus infection has more painful symptoms.

“The drainage could be more whitish,” Minior said. “Sometimes there’s going to be a fever associated with it. The duration may be a little bit longer — and just a little bit more discomfort.”

That discomfort, he said, could include facial or teeth pain.

For sinus infections, urgent care providers may help pinpoint the cause of the infection, as well as offer help in reducing the pressure in the affected areas.

Minior said the flu season is also hanging around a little longer this year. If a person has symptoms such as muscle aches and chills, they should see a doctor right away.

The Centers for Disease Constrol said, as of 2015, (the most recent data available), sinus infections, or sinusitis, affect at least 29.4 million people in the U.S. every year.


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