Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.
Coughs and Colds
Your symptoms have lasted longer than the duration of a usual common cold ("viral rhinitis"). However, this is still a possible cause of your symptoms. You do not have symptoms that suggest a bacterial infection in the sinuses ("acute sinusitis"), so you are not likely to benefit from antibiotic treatment.
Since your symptoms have been prolonged, it is worth considering whether your symptoms may be resulting from a process other than a viral infection. Common conditions that result in prolonged nasal symptoms include allergy (allergic rhinitis), sensitivity to aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen), or chronic sinusitis.
For some people, allergic rhinitis is triggered by specific pollens in the air. When this is the case, symptoms can be more dramatic in spring or summer seasons. Because it has environmental triggers, allergic rhinitis is commonly called "hay fever." This name can cause confusion, because it is not common for fever to accompany allergy symptoms.
Chronic sinusitis may be the result of allergy, an anatomic blockage in the nose (such as a nasal polyp or a deviated septum), or a reaction (inflammation or allergy) relating to a fungal infection.
You may benefit from discussing your symptoms with your doctor, so that advice about allergy triggers in your environment and advice about allergy treatment can be provided.
Over-the-counter cold or allergy medicines that include a decongestant or an antihistamine medicine may be helpful. If you have a health condition such as heart disease or high blood pressure, discuss the safety of decongestants with your doctor prior to using them. Antihistamine medicines can cause drowsiness in some people. Prescription medications are also available that might reduce your symptoms.
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