Three common diseases: how to distinguish colds, sinusitis and allergic rhinitis


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If you have ever wondered what the difference is between a cold, sinusitis and allergic rhinitis, this article is for you. First of all, it is good to know that all three disorders occur in the form of inflammation of the airways and affect the nose, but there are subtle and important differences. Let us analyse them together.

The cold.

A cold is a viral infection and is contracted through direct or indirect transmission from another infected person. It is usually a small, common infection that can affect the nose, throat and respiratory tract and usually disappears within one to two weeks.

If the cause of the cold is a flu virus, the discomfort will be generalised and may also involve shivering, followed by fever, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, cough and indeed nasal discharge.

Sinusitis: symptoms and remedies.

Sinusitis is an acute or chronic infection of the sinuses that causes swelling and inflammation of the nasal cavities and is divided into acute, chronic and recurrent, depending on its duration. One of the main aspects to be assessed is whether the origin of sinusitis is infectious, for exemple caused by viruses and bacteria, or due to allergens, so-called allergic sinusitis. In this case, allergens include mites, pollen, dog and cat hair and certain foods.

The main symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Facial pain: usually localised on the forehead.
  • Colour of mucus: mucus is green in colour, unlike cold mucus, which is thick and yellowish in colour.
  • There is also often thoracic constriction and coughing, which usually appear early in the morning and disappear during the day.

Acute sinusitis is usually related to infections, while chronic sinusitis is typical of allergies:

  • Acute sinusitis: symptoms last less than four weeks and in most cases are caused by the common cold and are easily treated with natural remedies. The most annoying symptoms usually resolve within seven to ten days, but always consult your doctor if they are prolonged.
  • Chronic sinusitis: often affects those who suffer from allergic rhinitis or asthma because the airways are more susceptible to inflammation, reacting to certain substances. This type of sinusitis should be suspected when symptoms persist for a long time despite medical treatment. However, chronic sinusitis can also have an infectious origin; it will be the doctor's task to analyse the situation and identify the best treatment.

The main tips and remedies for sinusitis:

  • Nasal decongestant.
  • Nasal sprays with hypertonic solution: to sanitise the nasal passages, helping to reduce congestion, inflammation and the incidence of infections, providing rapid relief.


When we refer to rhinitis, it always means an inflammation with swelling of the nasal mucous membrane, characterised by rhinorrhoea and nasal obstruction. If of bacterial or viral origin it is the common cold, in the case of an allergic origin it is typical to use the term 'hay rhinitis'.

Hay fever.

Allergic rhinitis, also called hay fever, is an inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes that occurs when the immune system overreacts to an allergen (dust, pollen) in the air to which one is sensitive.

The main symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:

  • Runny nose: overproduction of mucus.
  • Itching nose.
  • Persistent sneezing.
  • Persistent tearing.

The main tips and remedies for allergic rhinitis:

  • To reduce symptoms without resorting to medication, it is important to avoid contact with allergens.
  • When contact with allergens cannot be avoided, the use of antihistamines is recommended to alleviate some symptoms.

If symptoms persist, it is always good to consult your doctor to get a clearer picture of the situation.

Product Line

Nasal Spray Baby Otosan

Promotes the expulsion of excess mucus, helping to reduce nasal congestion and inflammation.

The result of our ongoing research in the field of otolaryngology, Otosan® Nasal Spray Baby is a nasal decongestant made with ingredients of plant origin, with a gentle formula that makes this product suitable for children.

Free from vasoconstrictors and propellant gases.

Autorizzazione Ministero della Salute del 29.05.12

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It is a CE medical device.
Read the instructions for use carefully.

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Nasal Spray Forte Otosan

Natural nasal spray with decongestant action useful for clearing a blocked nose.

Otosan Nasal Spray® arose from our constant and deep committment to develop natural products capable to offer a solution to several ENT conditions, which can often affect ears and nose at the same time.

Free from vasoconstrictors

Autorizzazione Ministero della Salute del 29.05.12

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It is a CE medical device.
Read the instructions for use carefully.

Product Line

Nasal Wash Otosan

Nasal wash ideal for daily nose hygiene and as a treatment for allergies, colds and sinusitis.

Otosan® Nasal Wash is useful in case of:

  • nasal congestion;
  • cold or allergic rhinitis;
  • acute and chronic sinusitis;
  • hypertrophic rhinitis during pregnancy;
  • snoring at night;
  • staying in dry or polluted environments;
  • exposure to fumes and irritants;
  • surgery (before and after);
  • daily cleansing of the nasal cavities.

Since it is constantly in contact with a large number of allergens, impurities and polluting dusts, keeping the nose clean and clear is the first step to prevent alterations of the mucous membrane of the nose (blocked nose, itching and dryness) and to allow correct airflow in the respiratory tract.

Autorizzazione Ministero della Salute del 29.05.12

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It is a CE medical device.
Read the instructions for use carefully.

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