Do I Have A Cold Or A Sinus Infection?

There is a good chance that this scenario will sound familiar – you wake up in the morning and something is not right. Then you realize… You might be coming down with a bug. Maybe you are congested or maybe your nose is running. Maybe you feel something in your throat. You also might be feeling sluggish, as if you are becoming rundown.

This unwelcome situation could also occur at any time of the day. Maybe you are at work and any one of these symptoms suddenly hits you, followed by the realization that you are dealing with something that could easily get worse soon.

As you begin to brace yourself for the distinct possibility that you are destined to feel awful before you return to normal, what you do to help yourself both in terms of getting well and feeling better could largely be dependent upon whether or not you are coming down with a cold or a sinus infection – which is also referred to as sinusitis.

There are similarities in symptoms regardless of what specifically is happening to you at the time. But there are differences between a cold and a sinus infection that will determine what you can do for yourself and how long it will take before you feel significantly better.

While there are details that need to be examined when discussing comparisons between colds and sinus infections, a general principle would be that a cold needs to run its course, while a sinus infection will often need to be treated in order for it to dissipate and for your health to improve.

While it can be extremely difficult for you to know what you are dealing with, a doctor can certainly let you know once he or she has examined you. This becomes increasingly important if whatever is ailing you lingers over a period of time. If you are dealing with symptoms that have not improved after 7-10 days, then it is recommended that you consult a physician. 

COLD SYMPTOMS 

You already know the specific and unwanted factors that are involved with fighting off and persevering through a cold. They can even be difficult to read, let alone experience. A common sign that you are enduring the onset of a cold is a sore throat. Then, the additional symptoms eventually emerge such as head congestion, nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, discharge, hoarseness, and coughing. These symptoms will often exist for one to three days before you are infected with a cold virus.

SINUSITIS SYMPTOMS

A cold can sometimes cause the blockage that creates a sinus infection, and there will be similarities in the symptoms that exist for sinusitis,  But if the air that fills your sinuses becomes blocked due to fluid, germs can inhabit the area and cause an infection. That, in turn, can lead to sinus blockage.

You can review the unwelcome symptoms of a cold that were just mentioned and also apply them to what you might encounter if you are suffering from sinusitis, which is an inflammation of your sinuses. However, there are aspects of a sinus infection that can indicate to you that this is what you are dealing with. One is sinus pressure behind the eyes or the cheeks. Also, if your runny nose lasts more than one week this also can reveal that you have a sinus infection. That is also the case if your stuffy nose continues over that a lengthy period of time.

While the number of days that you are experiencing the symptoms is one indicator of whether it is a cold or a sinus infection, another is the color of nasal discharge that you see. In colds, the mucus is usually clear. However, in bacterial infections which are associated with sinusitis, the discharge is green or yellow. In addition to the color of your discharge, any headaches that may also become more severe provide yet another sign that you very likely have a sinus infection.

If you are attempting to determine whether your child has a cold or a sinus issue, it is important to know that allergies can cause sinus infections in children, as can pacifiers, and smoke. Children can also obtain a sinus infection from drinking a bottle while lying on his or her back. They can also acquire it due to illnesses from other kids at their daycare or school.

There are two forms of sinusitis – acute, and chronic. An acute case of sinusitis can last anywhere from 10 days to a month depending upon the particulars of that sinus infection. While that duration is more than you would prefer, a chronic sinusitis will actually stay with you for a period of time that is even longer. If you have the symptoms of a sinus infection that remain with you for over 12 weeks, then your situation can be considered chronic.

If your discharge is thick this can be a sign that of chronic sinusitis. This is also true if there is pain and swelling around your eyes, cheeks, nose, or forehead. Also, if your sense of taste or smell is not at a normal level, then chronic sinusitis is more likely the cause. Both acute and chronic sinusitis can be the result of a viral infection or a bacterial infection.

HOW TO TREAT A COLDS AND SINUS INFECTIONS

Unfortunately, there is no instant cure for the common cold. Instead, rest, and making sure that you stay hydrated are usually your best steps to take toward feeling better. However, there are more options to combat a sinusitis, and there are steps that a doctor can take that will help you if you have developed a sinus infection.

In fact, there is a certain degree of good news, since antibiotics can be prescribed which will combat the inflammation and swelling, while reducing the amount of time that is necessary for you to recover. It has been estimated that bacterial sinus infections can last for up to 14 days, while antibiotics can eliminate up to five of those days.

At Rapid Med Urgent Care Center We Can Help!

Fortunately, if you are suffering from any of these symptoms, and are attempting to determine whether you are dealing with a cold or a sinus infection, you can contact or visit an urgent care center such as Rapid Med Urgent Care Center. Our professionals will be focused on doing everything possible to reduce your discomfort, and help your situation improve.

There is a reason that we are called Rapid Med Urgent Care Center and we make your comfort and care our top priority the moment that you visit us. We also provide you with the option of discussing your problems or concerns simply by contacting us through our On Demand service.

Phil Clark
Phil’s experience as a writer enabled him to generate advertising and marketing material throughout his career in the television industry before he expanded his level of knowledge by creating various promotional elements for all forms of media in other industries. He has also produced articles that have been published in numerous publications and websites, including usatoday.com, and USA Today’s football magazine, where he wrote weekly columns and player profiles for multiple years. He has also worked with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Vizio, and has a BS in Broadcasting from Indiana State University.
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