A cold brings along a slurry of symptoms, especially congestion. But, how do you differentiate congestion from the signs of a sinus infection? After all, both share the watery eyes, sneezing, and even stuffy nose. The best way to tell if it is a cold or a sinus infection is to compare the symptoms, which can vary once compared.

Is it a Cold?

Colds are viruses. They can last for a few days, but usually start to get better on their own, without medication, within ten days of the appearance of the first symptom. The symptoms of colds can really bring you down, including:

  • Stuffy Nose
  • Fever (Low-Grade)
  • Fatigue
  • Sneezing
  • Sore Throat
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Mucus Buildup in the Sinuses or Chest
  • Swollen Sinuses

Colds are not cured by antibiotics because they are viruses. Over-the-counter decongestants and cold medications, however, may help with the debilitating symptoms. Often all a person needs is rest and plenty of fluids to overcome the virus. Sinus irrigation may help relieve the pressure and buildup too, such as using a Neti pot.

Is it a Sinus Infection?

Sinus infections, on the other hand, have slightly different symptoms that tend to affect your sinuses, versus your entire body. Some common symptoms of a sinus infection include:

  • Pressure in the sinuses (behind the cheeks and eyes)
  • Stuffy, runny nose that persists for more than seven days
  • Headaches that tend to worsen, even with over-the-counter pain medications
  • Fever
  • Dizziness, especially when shifting positions
  • Cough
  • Bad breath
  • Green or thick, yellow mucus that drips from your nose and through the back of your throat
  • Fatigue feeling throughout the day
  • A decreased sense of smell
  • Referred pain, sometimes in the ears, teeth, cheeks or jaws (read more on pain you could experience with a sinus infection)
  • Cough due to the post-nasal drip
  • Sore throat that persists for several days

What to Do if You Think You Have a Sinus Infection

If you suspect your symptoms are indicating a sinus infection, you will need to consult a physician. Sinus infections will not go away on their own and often require some form of antibiotic (read more on common treatments for sinus infections) to help clear them up. If even after antibiotics your sinus infection does not go away, you will need to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Dr. Joshua P. Light can help you with your sinus infection and pain. Contact us today for an appointment by calling 561-737-8584.