Sinus Infections

When that cold you have lingers longer than you expected, you may start wondering if that sneezing, coughing and runny nose has turned into a sinus infection. So how do you know the difference?

A Cold

A cold is caused by a virus and has the symptoms of nasal congestion, runny nose, post-nasal drip, headache and fatigue. Sometimes you also get a fever and a cough. Symptoms usually grow until they reach their maximum point, then slowly disappear. Decongestants, pain relievers and cough medicine may help. Colds can last from a few days to over a week.

A Sinus Infection

Sometimes a cold can cause the sinuses to swell and block the flow of mucus. Mucus that gets stuck for too long can cause sinus infections.

If your face and eyes are especially painful, and you have a thick yellow or green mucus for more than a week, then you know it’s time to see a doctor.

Sinusitis

Sinuses are normally filled with air, but when a cold strikes, they can get blocked and filled with fluid. Prolonged blockage provides an environment where bacteria and infection can grow. The result is a sinus infection. Doctors often refer to this infection as sinusitis.

Sinus Infection Symptoms

Sinus infection symptoms can include a cold that won’t go away, a yellow, thick and foul-smelling discharge from your nose, pain and pressure around your face and eyes, a headache, nose blockage, post-nasal drip, and a fever or cough. These symptoms are also the same as when you have a cold, so what’s the difference? If these symptoms continue for longer than 10 days, it is possible you have a sinus infection and you should go see a doctor.

Sinus Infection Causes

Colds are not the only cause of sinus infections. Allergies (like hayfever), non-allergic rhinitis (you have symptoms similar to allergies but do not know the cause), or nasal polyps (where the lining of your nose has small growths). Some people are more susceptible to sinus infections because of something called a deviated septum, where the nasal cavity is shifted. This can make blockages more common.

How a Doctor Diagnoses and Treats a Sinus Infection

When you visit your doctor for a sinus infection, you will have a physical exam and your medical history will be taken. If needed, your doctor will have an X-ray or CT scan done of your sinuses.

You may get a prescription from your doctor, like antibiotics, stronger decongestants or other drugs that minimize sinus and nasal passage swelling. You doctor may also recommend nasal saline washes or hot or steam showers. They can assist in loosening mucus.

Some rare cases, sinus infections don’t go away after treatments. In these cases long-term antibiotics are prescribed, and sometimes even surgery is needed. Your doctor will help you know what is best for you.

When To Visit The Doctor

Many colds go away without medical intervention. However, if you have facial or eye pain, and thick yellow or green nasal discharge for longer than a week, visit your doctor. If you have a prolonged fever or severe symptoms that do not improve with over-the-counter treatments, it’s time to call the doctor.

Restore Health Urgent Care Clinic is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, Mon – Fri: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sat – Sun: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call us at (321) 338-1314. No appointment needed.