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Difference between cold and sinus infection


The symptoms and origin of sinus infection and those of viral colds can be confused. And even more, antibiotics are helpful in speeding up the healing process of sinusitis, but they do nothing in case of common colds. Here’s how to avoid self-diagnosis errors. You can also know answers to other medical FAQs when you visit this site.

How to tell the difference between cold and sinus infection?

Every year, millions of people suffer from sinus infections. These infections are caused by bacteria that develop in the sinuses, cavities in the back of the nose, eyes, eyebrows, and cheekbones, and are painful – they cause severe pain in the head and face area. Usually, sinusitis is triggered by a cold or allergy that causes the mucous membranes of the sinuses to swell and slow down their drainage capacity.

On the other hand, although antibiotics have been helpful for people with sinus infections, they are useless when it comes to fighting the common cold virus. So, how do we tell the difference and identify one over the other?

Unfortunately, the answer is not that easy. The experts say this is because it’s not very clear due to the many unknown parameters involved.

difference between cold and sinus infection

Relieve symptoms

The main symptom regards the duration of affection. People who spoke of colds said the nose was runny for two or three days, followed by a stuffy nose for a couple of day after. A sinus infection, on the other hand, can last up to two weeks. Sinusitis also causes (sometimes) a low-grade fever.

Some people are more prone than others to develop sinusitis, especially those with nasal polyps, nasal skin deflection, or allergy problems. For them, doctors recommend that they should take preventive measures.

Rest, drinking lots of fluids, inhalations and salt-water nose cleansing are the most effective treatments for sinusitis. The use of antibiotics can speed up the healing process. This is self-care. If you experience chronic (or very intense) infection, it is advisable to consult a health professional immediately, to avoid further complications.

Facts and differences

  • Both give body pains, runny nose, and fever…
  • Rest is paramount.
  • The infection of the sinuses concerns the cavities of the sinuses.
  • Cold affects the mucous membranes.
  • Bacteria cause the infection of the sinus, while viral agents cause common colds.
  • Headache is way more intense when having infected sinuses or sinusitis, compared to regular cold.
  • In case of colds, in a few days the nasal block is relieved while in a sinus infection, it persists for up to several weeks…

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