It looks like you are using an older version of Internet Explorer which is not supported. We advise that you update your browser to the latest version of Microsoft Edge, or consider using other browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


An allergy is a reaction to a foreign substance like pollen interacting with your immune system (we call the foreign substance an allergen).1 This reaction causes inflammation (swelling) in your nasal passages and/or sinuses, restricting airflow and making them feel blocked.2


Untreated allergies can cause a sinus infection to develop.3 An infection will make your sinuses and nasal passages feel even more plugged up, as your respiratory tract produces thick excess mucus.2-4

Allergies vs infections

Both allergies and sinus infections can cause inflammation in your nasal passages, giving you a stuffy nose and a sore head.4 However, they are two different conditions.4 As we've mentioned, one of these conditions (allergies) can lead to the other (sinus infection).3

Did you know? Different allergies and their symptoms may be more common depending on the season.5,6
• For example, pollen allergies are more likely to be a problem in spring.6 We call these seasonal allergies.6
• However, allergies to substances that are always in the air, like pet dander or dust mites, can bother you at any time of the year.6 We call these perennial allergies.6

So how do you tell the difference between an allergy and a sinus infection? Here’s a helpful comparison of the most common symptoms:4

Did you know? Having an allergy, like hay fever, can increase your risk of getting a sinus infection.1 It’s possible to have both conditions at the same time.4

Find out more about sinus infections.

Treating mucus congestion

If you have an untreated allergy that turns into a sinus infection, there are medications available that can help reduce the mucus congestion in your sinuses.7 For example, a mucolytic medication can help to thin out the mucus in your nasal passages, making it easier to blow it out and unblock your nose.7,8 This helps to relieve pressure and congestion in your nose and sinuses.7,8

  1. Allergies - symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Accessed August 4, 2021.
  2. Meltzer EO, Caballero F, Fromer LM, et al. Treatment of congestion in upper respiratory diseases. Int J Gen Med. 2010;3:69-91.
  3. What can happen if you leave your allergies untreated? London Allergy and Immunology Centre. 2019. Accessed November 18, 2021.
  4. Allergies or sinus infection: how to tell the difference. Healthline. 2018. Accessed August 4, 2021.
  5. Green RJ, Davis G, Price D. Concerns of patients with allergic rhinitis: the allergic rhinitis care programme in South Africa. Primary Care Respiratory Journal. 2007;16(5):299-303.
  6. What’s the difference between seasonal and perennial allergies? Allergy Asthma & Immunology Institute. Accessed August 4, 2021.
  7. Kryukov AI, Turovsky AB, Izotova GN, et al. Treatment of acute sinusitis. Russian Medical Journal. 2012;9:485-488.
  8. Zaitseva OV. Rational choice of mucolytic therapy in treatment of respiratory diseases in children. Russian Medical Journal. 2009;17(19):1217-1221.
Sidebar References
  1. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 600 Professional information. V1.0 (02/11/2021), approved 26 October 2021 (oral powder) and 02 November 2021 (effervescent tablets).
  2. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 20 mg/ml ORAL SOLUTION Professional information. V1 (07/10/2021), approved 05 October 2021.
  3. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 200 Professional information. V10 (16/08/2022), approved 08 July 2020.

[S1] ACC® 20 mg/ml Oral Solution. Reg. No.: 48/10.3/0261. Composition: Each 1 ml of ACC 20 mg/ml ORAL SOLUTION contains 20 mg acetylcysteine. ATC Code: R05C B01.

[S1] ACC® 200 (effervescent tablets). Reg. No.: 29/10.2.2/0753. Composition: Each ACC 200 effervescent tablet contains: 200 mg acetylcysteine. Pharmacological Classification: A10.3 Medicines acting on the respiratory system – other.

[S1] ACC® 600 (effervescent tablets). Reg. No.: 45/10.3/0229. Composition: Each effervescent tablet contains 600 mg acetylcysteine. [S1] ACC® 600 ORAL POWDER. Reg. No.: 51/10.3/0816. Composition: Each sachet contains 600 mg of acetylcysteine. ATC Code: R05CB01.

For full prescribing information refer to the Sandoz Professional Information approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

Contact Us
Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd, Reg. No. 1990/001979/07,
Magwa Crescent West,
Waterfall City,
Jukskei View,
Tel: +27 (11) 347 6600.
SANCAL Customer Call Centre: 0861 726 225.
Reporting of AEs: or [email protected]