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Nov 8

What Is The Difference Between a Common Cold and a Sinus Infection?

At any time of year, but especially during cold season, it’s common to get sick. Sinus pressure and runny and/or stuffy noses abound all season long. But for many, it can be hard to tell the difference between a cold and a sinus infection.

What’s the Difference?

The main difference is how long symptoms stick around. Most colds cause a runny nose for a couple days, and then a stuffy nose for a couple more. On the other hand, sinus infections last for seven or more days–or even up to two weeks if untreated.

The treatment also varies for a cold versus a sinus infection. If you have an infection, for instance, antibiotics will help. But they’ll be useless against a cold or allergy attack.

Colds also won’t come with a fever. Viruses like the flu can cause your temperature to rise, but colds generally don’t. Infections, on the other hand, may come with a low fever. So if your temperature rises, you can likely rule out a cold or allergy.

You can also tell by the color of your snot. Colds generally create clear mucus, while infections make it darker. However, this isn’t entirely a foolproof test, so it’s best to look at your other symptoms.

Treating a Cold or Infection

If you get either a cold or an infection, you can get lots of rest and hydration to fight it off. You may also want to breathe steam and use saline spray or a neti pot to rinse the sinuses. You can add over-the-counter decongestants to your routine. However, you may not want to use them for over three days. This is because some products can make your congestion worse, or raise your blood pressure.

Most of the time, the best thing to do will be to let a cold or infection run its course. But if it’s severe enough to need medical treatment, see a doctor.

Should you run into sinus infections frequently, or if you run the risk of missing work, visit us for your evaluation. Call today!