Is It A Sinus Infection Or Cold
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a sinus infection and a cold as the symptoms can be very similar. Sinus infections often develop after a cold.
Sinusitis tends to last longer than a cold. Cold symptoms tend to get steadily worse, peaking at 35 days, then gradually get better. Sinus infections may last 10 days or more.
Some symptoms are more likely to be caused by sinusitis than a cold, including:
- swelling of the tissue in the nose
- green discharge from the nose
- a swollen or tender face
Unlike a cold, sinusitis can become chronic, which means it lasts longer than eight weeks. Chronic sinusitis causes swelling and irritation in the sinuses and usually develops after a person has had acute sinusitis. Sometimes the symptoms go away and then come back again.
Ongoing sinus symptoms even if they get better and then come back may indicate chronic sinusitis.
Sinus infections often go away on their own without medical treatment. There are, however, some things a person can do at home to relieve the bothersome symptoms.
To treat sinusitis symptoms with home remedies , try:
Avoid using decongestants on a long-term basis without talking to a doctor first because they can make congestion worse if used for too long.
- symptoms last longer than 10 days with no improvement
- fever lasts longer than 3-4 days
- the pain is very intense
- a person with a suspected sinus infection has a drugs that suppress the immune system, or organ failure
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A Note On Antihistamines
While antihistamines like chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine can treat sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes, theyre intended to treat those symptoms when theyre caused by allergies. If you have a cold or a sinus infection, antihistamines may make it more difficult to treat, says Dr. Tweel. I havent found them to be significant in my practice. Plus, theres a teaching you shouldnt use antihistamines for a cold.
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When To See A Doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if your symptoms have persisted through home treatments for more than 10 days.
There are some symptoms that could indicate its time to take a trip to the doctor. These include:
- mucus with a strong odor
These may be symptoms of a bacterial infection, which needs antibiotics. Theres a common misconception that yellow or green mucus indicates an infection. This color change is part of the immune response, where infection-fighting neutrophils rush to the area. These cells contain a greenish-colored enzyme that can turn the mucus the same color.
In the cases of a deviated septum, corrective surgery may be the only way to permanently treat postnasal drip. This surgery tightens and straightens the nasal septum. Some parts of the nasal septum may need to be removed to do this.
If you think GERD, acid reflux, or trouble swallowing could be causing the feeling of postnasal drip, your primary care physician can run tests and prescribe medications to check for other health problems.
If you need help finding a primary care doctor, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.
Cdc Awards $1588 Million To Wayne State University To Study Viral Infection Surveillanceyour Browser Indicates If You’ve Visited This Link
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded $15.88 million to the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine to be the epicenter of a national study on viral infections that present in emergency departments across the county.
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The Best Medicine For Fever Sore Throat And/or Aches And Pains:
Acetaminophen, best known by the brand name Tylenol, is primarily used as a fever reducer, although research in the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews suggests it may also relieve cold-related aches and pains. Acetaminophen is safe for most people if taken as directed. It is found in many combination remedies, such as Tylenol Cold + Flu Severe Caplets and Vicks Dayquil Cold & Flu Relief Liquicaps.
Because overdoing acetaminophen can cause serious harm to the liver, avoid using more than one product that contains it at a time to avoid exceeding the FDA-suggested daily dose of 3,000 milligrams for adults per 24-hour period.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , which include aspirin, ibuprofen , and naproxen , reduce fever as well as inflammation throughout the body. Other research in the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews found that NSAIDs can greatly lessen discomfort due to headache, ear pain, muscle pain, joint pain, and sneezing.
Note: Some cold and flu remedies such as Excedrin contain both acetaminophen and an NSAID.
If youre still having a hard time navigating the cold medication aisle, talk to the pharmacist. With a little customized guidance about ingredients, you may be able to enjoy better symptom relief.
Additional reporting by Nuna Alberts.
Best Cold Medicine For Runny Nose
A runny nose is one of the ways your body ejects irritants inflaming your nasal passages. A runny nose can also be inconvenient and feel a little bit gross.
If you take a decongestant for a runny nose, your symptoms will get worse before they get better as those types of drugs thin the mucus in your body.
Thats why diphenhydramine might be better for drying up a runny nose. Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine, which means it reduces your bodys natural reaction to irritants and pathogens. It also might make you drowsy, which is why its best to take this medication at bedtime.
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Best Cold Medicine For Fever And Aches
Fever and aches are triggered by inflammation in your body. Treating the inflammation can bring down your pain levels and soothe discomfort.
Viruses Are The Culprits Behind Both Of These Illnesses
There are more than 200 viruses that can cause cold-like symptoms, says Campbell-Scherer. In contrast, there are just two influenza viruses, A and B, but they continually mutate, requiring the flu vaccine to be updated each year in order to protect against the latest strains.
You can contract cold or flu viruses by inhaling droplets in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or by coming in contact with the other persons hands or a shared object or surface, and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Once the virus enters your body, it will zero in on the upper respiratory tract , although influenza can also affect the lungs. Cold viruses are infectious up to two days before symptoms appear and remain infectious until theyre gone. However, influenza is infectious one day before it appears and remains so for up to six days after symptoms develop.
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Preventing The Spread Of Colds
Wash your hands often. This is the best way to stop the spread of germs.
To wash your hands correctly:
- Rub soap onto wet hands for 20 seconds. Make sure to get under your fingernails. Dry your hands with a clean paper towel and turn faucet off with paper towel.
- You can also use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Use a dime size amount and rub all over your hands until they are dry.
To further prevent colds:
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow and not into the air.
Medications To Avoid During Pregnancy
Always check with your doctor or OBGYN before taking any medications prescription, over-the-counter, or homeopathic particularly the following.
- Pain relievers and fever reducers like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can cause pregnancy complications, particularly if taken during the third trimester.
- Avoid non-steroidal nasal sprays containing oxymetazoline.
- Dont take supplemental vitamins or herbal remedies without medical approval.
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Is It A Cold Or The Flu
The best way to tell the difference between a cold and the flu is to take account of the typical symptoms.
- A cold is milder than the flu. Its symptoms come on gradually and typically you only run a low-grade to no fever. It generally starts off with a sore throat that goes away after a day or two, a cold ends with the main symptoms of a runny nose and cough.
- Influenza, commonly called the flu, is more severe and the onset is more sudden than a cold. Symptoms include a high fever , headache, chills, a sore throat that typically worsens by the second or third day, intense muscle soreness, and a general feeling of weakness and fatigue. These symptoms, along with sneezing and a cough, can last a couple of weeks or longer.
Do I Need An Antibiotic
The teams at Pew, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Utah and elsewhere chose ear infections, sore throats and sinus infections because they generate 44 million antibiotic prescriptions a year.
Its only appropriate sometimes to prescribe antibiotics for these conditions. Strep throat is easily treated with antibiotics, and if a child with a middle ear infection has pus oozing out, a pediatrician will usually give an antibiotic. Sinus infections that linger may be helped with antibiotics.
But more sore throats and ear infections are caused by viruses, and an antibiotic will do nothing to help the patient. Sinus infections can sometimes involve bacteria but often are caused by viruses or fungi.
When an antibiotic is called for, it should be a basic one usually amoxicillin, the Pew team said. Thats not what people usually get, however.
The most commonly prescribed non-first-line antibiotics for sinus infections, middle ear infections and pharyngitis were macrolides , a class of broad-spectrum antibiotics frequently prescribed in outpatient settings, the Pew team wrote in their report.
However, macrolides are not recommended for sinus or middle ear infections and are recommended for pharyngitis only for patients with an allergy to the penicillin class of antibiotics.
Why would doctors prescribe the wrong drug?
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Treatment For Colds And Sinus Infections
All colds and most sinus infections are caused by viruses, and clear up on their own without treatment. Know that antibiotics do not work against viruses. Cold and sinus infection treatment involves relieving symptoms. Home remedies and over-the-counter medications can help you feel better, but they do not shorten the length of the illness. Getting plenty of rest, drinking enough water, applying a warm compress to your sinus area and using a humidifier can make you more comfortable.
Over-the-counter medications can also help alleviate cold and sinus symptoms. Read labels closely when choosing a medication. Note that combination medicines contain more than one active ingredient. For example, Alka Seltzer Plus contains several active ingredients, including acetaminophen . In this case, you’d have to be careful to not also take a separate dose of acetaminophen. You also should not take medications for symptoms you don’t have. Your pharmacist can help you find an OTC product to treat your specific symptoms:
There are no prescription medications for colds, but there are prescription medications for symptom management. One of these is ipratropium bromide , which is available as a nasal spray or as an inhaler. This nasal spray can ease a runny nose, postnasal drip and a sore throat, and the inhaler relaxes airways and prevents secretion of mucus in the nose.
Its Best To Choose Cold And Flu Medication By Symptom
The key to picking the right product or products to help you feel better faster is to zero in on your symptoms. Also important: Whenever possible, stick to single-ingredient remedies to reduce the risk of side effects, says Nate Favini, MD, an internist and medical director of the nationwide healthcare system Forward.
Choose a medication thats going to directly address the symptom or symptoms that are bothering you rather than a cocktail that may include things you dont need, he says. For example, if the label of a cold or flu medication says that it treats fevers, coughs, and runny noses but you have only a cough, choose a simple cough suppressant instead.
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The Best Home Remedy For A Sore Throat : Top 10 Picks By An Expert
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Can Colds And The Flu Be Cured With Medications
No medicines can “cure” colds and flu. However, there are many over-the-counter medicines that can ease the discomfort caused by the symptoms of colds and flu. In addition, there are prescription medicines and a vaccine that can treat and prevent the flu.
Note on antibiotics: Colds and the flu are causes by viruses and cannot be cured with antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, such as strep throat and ear, skin and urinary tract infections. Using antibiotics for infections they are not able to treat makes the antibiotics less effective for infections they are supposed to treat . Never take antibiotics to treat colds and flu.
To ease the discomfort from specific cold and flu symptoms, consider using the following types of OTC medicines:
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The Bad News/good News About Post
Post-nasal drip is among the most common causes of persistent cough, hoarseness, sore throat and other annoying symptoms. It can be caused by a number of conditions and may linger for weeks or months. That’s the bad news. The good news is that most of the causes can be quickly identified and most will improve with treatment.
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, is associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Clinical Chief of Rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston where he teaches in the Internal Medicine Residency Program. He is also the program director of the Rheumatology Fellowship. He has been a practicing rheumatologist for over 25 years.
How Long Does A Sore Throat Last
It really depends on whats causing your sore throat. Most sore throats will dissipate within 3 10 days if its caused by a viral infection like a cold, says Dr. Allan.
If a bacterial infection like strep or allergies is the culprit, your sore throat could last longer if not treated with appropriate antibiotics or medications.
Once youre properly diagnosed and treated for a bacterial infection, your sore throat should clear up within a day or so.
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Common Colds: Relief For A Stuffy Nose Cough And Sore Throat
There are no treatments that fight cold viruses directly. But nasal sprays and painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can provide some relief from cold symptoms. Many other treatments have either not been studied well enough or have no proven benefit.
Colds are very common: On average, adults come down with a cold 2 to 4 times a year, and children have as many as 6 to 8 colds a year. The reason that colds are so common is that they can be caused by very many different kinds of viruses. So having had one virus doesn’t make you immune to other cold viruses.
Colds usually go away on their own after about one to two weeks. Although the symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, cough and headache can be bothersome, you don’t need to take medication. None of the currently available treatments can shorten the length of a cold. Antibiotics only fight so they dont help in the treatment of simple common colds that are caused by viruses. They can have side effects too, so they should only be used if a bacterial infection develops as a complication of the cold.
The Best Medicine For Stuffy Nose And Sinus Pain:
shrink swollen blood vessels and tissues in your nose, making breathing easier. One type, pseudoephedrine , is sold without a prescription but only from behind the pharmacy counter and in limited quantities because it can be used to make the illegal drug methamphetamine .
Nasal decongestant sprays containing the active ingredient oxymetazoline do a good job of reducing stuffiness after just one dose, shows research in the December 1, 2019, issue of the journal Rhinology. However, you shouldn’t use these sprays for more than three days in a row or your stuffy nose could get worse, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Preservative-free saline nasal sprays , which contain a small amount of salt diluted in sterilized water to help moisturize inflamed nasal passages, tend to be safe for daily use in people of all ages.
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