TrustCare | How Do I Know If It's A Sinus Infection?

How Do I Know If It's A Sinus Infection?


The common cold is exactly what it sounds like – it’s really common. So how can you tell the difference between a cold and a sinus infection? When is it time to visit the doctor instead of letting it run its course?

The CDC reports that most adults get 2-3 colds a year. Children, especially those in school or daycare environments get even more. Although the symptoms of a cold and a sinus infection are very similar – headache, runny nose, sore throat, coughing, fever, and fatigue - it is important to understand the difference between the two conditions and how to manage them.

A sinus infection, or Sinusitis, occurs when fluid is trapped in the sinuses cavity, allowing germs to grow. The sinuses are cavities found within the facial bones that connect the skull with the nasal cavities. They are typically filled with air, so when they are blocked and filled with fluid, bacteria begins to grow and cause infection. Unlike the common cold, they can be treated with a course of antibiotics. Not all cases will need to be treated, so it is best to consult a doctor about your specific case.

So when should you head to the doctor to seek further treatment? According to the CDC you need to see a doctor if you have a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees, your symptoms keep worsening or last more than 10 days, you’ve had multiple sinus infections in the course of the year, or your symptoms aren’t improving with the use of over the counter medications. Your doctor might diagnose you with chronic sinusitis if the infection lasts more than 8 weeks or if you have more than 4 in one year. Doctors usually diagnose by discussing your symptoms, doing a simple physical exam, or taking a swab from inside your nose. Over the counter drugs are also available to relieve the symptoms of the infection. If your symptoms are concerning, stop in to one of our convenient TrustCare locations. We’ll help you Feel Better Faster!

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