Influenza, hay fever and sinusitis: Know the differences

  • Marnus Milne Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
  • Tumelo Mokoena Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
  • Jade Du Toit Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
  • Zandile Dlamini Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
  • Natalie Schellack Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
Keywords: Influenza, hay fever, sinusitis, common symptoms, differences

Abstract

Influenza, hay fever and sinusitis are all very different upper respiratory tract syndromes that share very similar symptoms. “Flu” is caused by the influenza virus and usually presents with headaches, myalgia, fever and body aches. Hay fever is an allergic response of the body to a trigger, more often treated by removal of the trigger. There is no place for antibiotic usage in flu or hay fever; there is no clinical evidence to suggest that using antibiotics alters the course of the disease or prevents secondary infection. Treatment is mainly symptomatic and includes many over-the-counter medicines, antivirals and herbal treatments. On the other hand, sinusitis is a common inflammatory condition defined by persistent symptomatic inflammation of the sinonasal cavities lasting from less than four weeks to longer than three months. Either a virus or bacteria may cause sinusitis. Appropriate use of medical therapies, including antibiotics for sinusitis is necessary to optimise patient quality of life and daily functioning and minimise the risk of acute inflammatory exacerbations. Patients often present at the pharmacy with complaints of “flu”. However, in many instances, symptoms may be confused with those of an allergy or sinusitis. It is important to know and understand the difference between influenza and allergies such as hay fever and sinusitis, in order to ensure correct diagnosis and offer appropriate therapeutic approaches. This article will review the clinical manifestations of influenza, allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and sinusitis, and highlight the differences between these three illnesses.

Author Biographies

Marnus Milne, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
BPharm, MSc (Pharmacology), PhD (Pharmacy) Senior Lecturer School of Pharmacy Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
Tumelo Mokoena, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
BPharm MPharm Candidate Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
Jade Du Toit, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
BPharm MPharm Candidate Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
Zandile Dlamini, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
BPharm MPharm Candidate Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
Natalie Schellack, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
BCur, BPharm, PhD (Pharmacy) Associate Professor Department of Pharmacy Faculty of Health Sciences Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
Published
2018-12-03
Section
Reviews