How to Determine if You Have a Sinus Infection or a Cold

Sinus Infection vs. Cold

Sneezing, runny nose, cough? It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether you’re experiencing symptoms that are associated with a sinus infection or a cold. While the two share many similar symptoms, they differ, especially when it comes to how long the symptoms last for as well as the course of treatment involved. Learn how to discern a sinus infection from a cold and get back to being your normal, healthy self with help from the professionals at Breathe Clear Institute. 

Sinus Infection

A sinus infection occurs when the chambers in your face and forehead become infected, causing swelling and inflammation. The causes range from bacteria, immune problems, allergies, viruses, polyps, and other abnormalities. Sinus infections can be either acute or chronic. Acute infections last about four weeks and chronic infections can last anywhere up to twelve weeks. 


Sinus infection symptoms consist of nasal congestion, headaches, post nasal drip, facial pain, tooth pain, cough, problems with smell and taste, and nasal discharge. 


When treating a sinus infection, nasal sprays and saline rinses are commonly recommended. These can be picked up over-the-counter or with a prescription from your doctor. Some other over-the-counter medications may be suggested depending on the severity of the infection. For more serious cases, antibiotics can be prescribed. For people who experience chronic sinusitis, there are certain procedures they can undergo to get relief. A balloon sinuplasty helps treat recurring sinus infections by placing a small balloon into the sinuses. When the balloon is inflated, the sinuses are then widened. 


Chances are you have definitely experienced the common cold. There are over 200 viruses that can cause a cold. Colds are infections of the upper respiratory system and the symptoms are typically present within a few days of exposure. The rhinovirus most commonly causes a cold. Other viruses include coronavirus and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). Colds are contagious, so it is important to be mindful of those who may have one. 


The symptoms of the common cold include sore throat, runny nose, congestion, cough, sneezing, and headaches.  


Unfortunately, because a cold is a virus, you have to let it run its course. However, there are over-the-counter medications that can help relieve the symptoms, including antihistamines, decongestants, and pain relievers like NSAIDS. If the cold does not go away after a little more than a week, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor as there may be other health risks. 

Get Relief from Breathe Clear Institute

If you are unsure if you are suffering from a sinus infection or bad cold, make an appointment with the experienced ENT doctors at Breathe Clear Institute. Alleviating your symptoms and getting to the root of the problem is very important to us. Our doctors will work diligently to diagnose your problem and recommend a treatment plan that best suits you. Our office contains the Carestream CS 93000 Sinus Ct Scanner, which can help us determine if you are having sinus issues. Providing convenience and in-depth, quality care for our patients is our priority. We look forward to helping you get the relief that you deserve.

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