Understanding common cold, sinusitis and allergic rhinitis symptoms.

Whether you have a cold, blocked sinuses, or allergic rhinitis flaring up, the right treatment can help you get some relief and feel normal again.

Identify the problem – is it a cold, an allergic rhinitis  or sinusitis?

Congestion and other nasal symptoms could be due to various things – including the common cold, allergies or a case of sinusitis. Understanding which condition is causing your symptoms is the key to finding the right treatment for you.

Do I have a cold?

A bald man laying in a bed next to a dog appears to blow his nose in a tissue due to cold

Do I have allergic rhinitis?

Woman sneezing due to hay fever allergic reaction, which might be produced by pollen inhalation.

Allergic rhinitis flares up when your immune system overreacts to an allergen such as dust, pollutant, pollen, mould or pet hair, as it would a viral infection, releasing chemicals to fight it off. Allergic rhinitis symptoms include sneezing, a runny or blocked nose, and itchy eyes, mouth or skin.4

People with allergic rhinitis can start to experience symptoms just minutes after breathing in an allergen.5

Allergic rhinitis symptoms can significantly impact daily life for people who suffer from it. Depending on the severity of symptoms, allergic rhinitis can have psychological effects, interfere with social interactions, and even have an economic burden.6 That’s why finding ways to treat your symptoms and avoiding triggers is so important in managing allergic rhinitis.

Learn more

Do I have sinusitis?

Sinusitis is symptomatic inflammation of the paranasal sinuses and usually follows a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, such as a cold or flu. Sinusitis symptoms include pain, swelling, and tenderness around the face, in addition to the normal cold symptoms of a runny or blocked nose.7

Sinusitis, also called rhinosinusitis, affects about 1 in 8 adults every year, and generally occurs when viruses or bacteria infect the sinuses (often during a cold) and begin to multiply. Part of the body’s reaction to the infection causes the sinus lining to swell, blocking the channels that drain the sinuses. This causes mucus and pus to fill up the nose and sinus cavities.8

Sinusitis can be acute (lasting less than four weeks), or chronic (lasting for more than three months). Sinusitis treatment includes daily nasal irrigation, and with Otrivin naturals range, can help clear your nose, reduce swelling, and wash away any trapped bacteria and viruses from the nose.9

Learn more

A woman rubs her nose because of sinusitis, an inflammation that usually comes from a cold.


  1. Eccles R, Martenssen K, Chen S. Effects of intranasal xylometazoline, alone or in combination with ipratropium, in patients with common cold. Curr Med Res Opin. 2010;26:889–899
  2. NICE CKS. Common cold. Available from: https://cks.nice.org.uk/common-cold#!background (last accessed March 2020)
  3. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Allergic Rhinitis. Available from: https://acaai.org/allergies/types/hay-fever-rhinitis (last accessed March 2020)
  4. NICE CKS. Allergic rhinitis. Available from https://cks.nice.org.uk/allergic-rhinitis#!backgroundSub:2 (last accessed March 2020)
  5. NICE. Sinusitis. Available from: https://cks.nice.org.uk/sinusitis#!diagnosisSub (last accessed March 2020)
  6. Rosenfeld RM, Piccirillo JF, Chandrasekhar SS, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline (Update): Adult Sinusitis. Otolaryngol–Head Neck Surg. 2015;152(2S):S1–S39
  7. Goodman DM, Lynm C, Livingston EL. Adult Sinusitis. J Am Med Assoc. 2013;309(8):837
  8. NHS. Sinusitis (sinus infection). Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sinusitis-sinus-infection/ (last accessed March 2020)

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