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Sinus and allergy care

Sinus or allergy symptoms can cause discomfort. Whether you’re experiencing seasonal or chronic sinus issues, our ENT specialists can help you find their source and get you back to feeling like yourself.

When to see a sinus and allergy specialist

Many of us experience allergies, whether they are seasonal or related to common allergens such as animal dander, dust, food, insect bites or mold. Fortunately, most allergies can be treated and controlled with medication.

Allergies, if left untreated, can lead to sinus issues. As the body works to flush out the toxins that are causing your allergies, the nasal and sinus passages can become swollen. This can make it difficult to breathe through your nose, cause a buildup of fluid in your sinuses and lead to sinusitis (or sinus disease). With sinusitis, the sinuses become inflamed and blocked or filled with fluids, which can cause an infection.

The symptoms of sinusitis, allergies and even the common cold can resemble one another. If your symptoms persist or start to become worse, you might consider seeing an ENT specialist.

To schedule an appointment, call 800-275-6401 and say "ear nose and throat*"

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Sinus and allergy symptoms

It’s easy for sinusitis or allergy symptoms to be mistaken for a cold. A good rule of thumb to follow is if your symptoms last longer than 10 days, you’re likely experiencing something more serious than the common cold.

Here are some common symptoms of sinusitis and allergies:

  • Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Discolored nasal discharge 
  • Facial pressure or pain
  • Fever 
  • Headaches
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Sneezing

While sinusitis is very common, certain people are more likely to develop the condition including:

  • Smokers
  • Those who are frequently around second-hand smoke 
  • Those with a deviated septum
  • Those with asthma
  • Women 

Diagnosing sinusitis and allergies

Because colds, allergies and sinusitis symptoms can be so similar, tests are often needed to provide a proper diagnosis. Our skilled, compassionate sinus and allergy specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating both.

Your ENT doctor may conduct the following tests to diagnose sinusitis or allergies:

  • Allergy tests, which can identify what you are allergic to:
    • A prick/puncture test involves a small, disposable plastic device that gently pokes the surface of your skin and applies a diluted allergen.
    • An intradermal test involves a small needle which is used to inject a diluted allergen just beneath the surface of your skin.
    • Blood tests, which can identify certain indicators of sinusitis or allergies.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan, which uses X-rays to obtain cross-sectional images of your head and sinuses. This will allow your doctor to evaluate your sinuses more fully.
  • Endoscopy, which allows your doctor to examine the inside of your nose and sinus drainage pathways. During an endoscopy, your doctor will place a small scope into your nose or mouth to examine the hard-to-see areas of your sinus and nasal passages.

Sinus and allergy treatment

It’s important to get relief from your sinus conditions and allergies, so you can feel your best. Whether you come to us for a second opinion or an initial diagnosis, we’ll act fast to assess your systems and provide you with a personalized treatment plan.

Allergy testing can help to determine what treatment will be best for you. Depending on your symptoms and diagnosis, one or more of the following treatments may be recommended:


Antibiotics are an effective way to treat bacterial infections. They can stop bacteria from reproducing while also destroying bacteria in your system. Antibiotics are needed when your white blood cells cannot fight off bacteria on their own.
Decongestants and antihistamines

Working to reduce swelling in your nasal passages, decongestants and antihistamines can help you breathe better. They can come in the form of a pill or nasal spray and can help relieve runny noses and sneezing.
Nasal sprays

Nasal steroid sprays help to relieve inflammation in the nose and sinus drainage pathways. They are safe to use long term for the treatment of your symptoms.
Allergy shots

A series of allergy shots can help alleviate your symptoms. Regular shots over a period of time, which is determined by your doctor, can act as a form of immunotherapy. Over time, your dosage of allergy shots may decrease as your immune system builds a tolerance towards allergens and your symptoms lessen. Allergy shots can be used to treat indoor allergies, seasonal allergies and allergies to insect stings.

Used to treat allergies, immunotherapy helps build up a tolerance to allergens by increasing the amount of them in your body. Immunotherapy can be administered through shots, tablets or drops. While shots can treat multiple allergies, tablets and drops can only treat one type of allergy.

When non-surgical treatment does not help relieve your symptoms, our sinus surgeons will discuss the various surgical options available. Using advanced technologies, most sinus surgery is minimally invasive and highly successful.

Sinus and allergy care at Geisinger

Our ENT specialists provide comprehensive treatment of all sinus and allergy issues, including the latest, leading-edge techniques for endoscopic sinus surgery, as well as traditional surgical procedures. When you choose our ENT team to help care for you, you’ll get:

  • Comprehensive care – Our team is specially trained in treating conditions impacting any part of the face, head and neck, from simple to complex. This means you’ll work with a doctor who specializes in treating your condition and will be best able to create a personalized treatment plan.
  • Advanced sinus and allergy care – Our specialists offer the latest techniques for sinus surgeries, including minimally invasive options, and treat a wide range of nasal and sinus disorders.
  • World-class care, close to home – With locations throughout central, northeast and south-central Pennsylvania, our experienced ENT team provides consultations and comprehensive care. We offer leading-edge treatment options and tailored-to-you care backed by the expertise and innovation of a nationally recognized health system.
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