Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Cold Vs Flu Vs Sinus Infection

Is It Allergies Or The Flu

Cold or sinus infection?

What is the difference between allergies and the flu? Since its an infection, the flu usually causes fever, high-grade and lasting for days allergies dont cause any fever, ever. With the flu, you develop a steady cough, often severe. If its allergies, coughing is intermittent and typically only occurs when youre outside or have just come from spending time outside where youve had contact with pollen or other allergens. Coughing with allergies is preceded by a tingling sensation in the throat and usually a sign of a laryngospasm the airways closing as a result of exposure to an allergen. Simply drinking some water should help inactivate or remove the allergen and stop the cough.

With the flu you dont sneeze, at least not very often. With allergies, you sneeze a lot sneezing helps remove pollen or other allergens you might have inhaled. Excessive nose and throat mucus is common with allergies, but the mucus is always either clear or white, sometimes with grey streaks if youve happened to have inhaled dust particles. With the flu, mucus turns yellow or green over the course of a few days. Allergies cant produce yellow or green mucus. Changes in mucus color are indicative of the progression of an infection.

This post was updated on Thursday / December 16th, 2021 at 7:21 PM

Sinusitis Symptoms In Children

Children show many of the same symptoms of sinusitis as adults. Young children may have a slight fever along with a stuffy nose and yellow or green mucus. They will probably be more irritable, as they dont feel well but may not be able to articulate it. If symptoms last more than 10 days or their temperature continues to rise then its best to get them checked by a doctor.

What Are The Major Differences Between Coronavirus Versus Cold And Flu Symptoms

In other words, is there any way to tell the difference, and when, according to current NHS guidelines, is it time to act?

Well, as Dr Aragona explains, there arent many overlapping symptoms, if you look closely at the symptoms of coronavirus vs the symptoms of a cold or the flu. Other than a high temperature, there arent any overlapping symptoms he shares.

Dr Ravi agrees that if you pay close enough attention to our body and what symptoms youre experiencing, you can tell them apart. With a common cold, most of the symptoms remain in the upper airway due to mucus. Think a wet cough, blocked nose, and sneezing. With the flu, your whole body is affected. Youll get added headaches, body pain, and fatigue. COVID-19, on the other hand, has a unique presentation. You may get a fever, dry cough, and a loss of taste and/or smell.

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Cold Vs Flu Vs Sinus Infection: Which Is It

Typical cold symptoms include

  • Swollen sinuses, congestion, and mucus buildup
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

Cold symptoms last for around a week, on average. Colds most often start with a sore throat , followed by nasal and congestion issues. A cough often comes after, around the fourth or fifth day. Children are more likely to develop a fever with a cold, but adults can develop a slight one. Colds are contagious during the first few days and are less severe than other infections like the flu.

How to treat it: A cold is a virus, so it cant be treated by antibiotics. Over-the-counter medications can help alleviate symptoms, like a headache or congestion. Plenty of rest and fluids will help your body recover. If you dont see symptomatic improvement after a week, you should see your physician to ascertain whether you might need medical treatment for a different type of infection.

Typical flu symptoms include

  • Chest discomfort or cough
  • Sneezing, sore throat, stuffy nose

While many colds will emerge gradually, the flu usually hits you like a ton of bricks. Soreness and muscles aches are common, as are headaches, high fevers, and general malaise.

Typical sinus infection symptoms include

  • Sinus pressure
  • Runny or stuffy nose for a prolonged period
  • Headache
  • Bad breath
  • Poor sense of smell

What Is A Sinus Infection And Is It The Same As Sinusitis

Is It a Cold, Allergies, or a Sinus Problem?

A sinus infection is an infection of the sinuses caused by a virus, bacteria, or rarely fungi.

Technically, sinusitis is an inflammation of the delicate membranes that line the sinuses, which may be caused by an allergy, a virus, bacteria, or rarely fungi. When membranes are inflamed they swell up and become red. Sinus infections always have sinusitis as a symptom.

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If You Have A Cold Do You Need To See A Doctor

The general medical wisdom around treating colds says that, in most cases, you dont need to see a doctor for a cold. However, some over the counter medications can help. These include NSAID painkillers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. And decongestant nasal sprays or cough syrups can also help take the edge off of symptoms.

However, if you have a very high or persistent fever, seeing a doctor may be a good idea. Influenza, a more severe illness, may sound like a cold, but its symptoms start much sooner. Instead of a multi-stage onset like you would get with a cold, influenza starts right away with a high fever and severe symptoms.

How A Sinus Infection Happens

Colds can progress to become sinus infections, but not all sinus infections are viral. Bacteria and even allergies also can cause sinus infections.

A sinus infection occurs when the sinus lining becomes inflamed, preventing the sinuses from draining, he says. The trapped mucous becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to a sinus infection.

Conditions that may make you more likely to get a sinus infection include:

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Causes Of The Common Cold Covid

The common cold and COVID-19 are both caused by different viruses. The virus that causes the cold affects the upper respiratory tract, while the novel coronavirus can affect both the upper and lower respiratory tract.

A sinus infection is caused when your sinuses get blocked and fill with fluid, allowing bacteria to grow. The blockage can be due to allergies, nasal polyps, a deviated septum, or a virus like the cold. The infection can cause swelling or inflammation in the sinuses. This can cause several symptoms, many of which are similar to that of a cold.

Color Of Nasal Discharge May Be Darker Not Clear

Is It A Sinus Infection, Cold Or Allergies?

Have you ever gone to your doctor and she asks When you blow your nose, what color do you see in the tissue? The reason for this question is that colds tend to produce clear mucus, while a hallmark of sinus infections is yellow or green mucus. A virus can also cause mucus to be yellow or green, so its not a definitive test, just a potential clue to what is wrong.

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How Do You Treat A Sinus Infection

Most sinus infections will clear up without antibiotics, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . If this is your case, self-care and over-the-counter medications have you covered: Stay hydrated to thin out your mucus, inhale steam out of a mug or in the shower a couple times a day, and press a warm, moist washcloth or heating pad to your face to ease any facial pain.

OTC pain medications like Tylenol or Advil can also help you ride out the most uncomfortable days of a sinus infection, says Dr. Husain.

However, if your doctor sees pus-like drainage coming out of your sinuses , that usually means you have a bacterial sinus infection. That requires a course of antibiotics and a nasal rinse and decongestant, which can help mucus clear out of your sinuses and dial down the swelling in your nasal passages, says Dr. Husain.

Could It Be A Cold Or Allergies

Like flu and COVID-19, colds are also caused by viruses and can be passed to others.

Symptoms of a cold tend to be mild. You may have a runny nose, cough, congestion, and sore throat. But you wont usually have the aches and fever that are common with COVID-19 and flu. Often, youll feel better in a couple of days.

Theres no cure for the common cold. Typical treatments include rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medicines. Some complementary treatments may help with cold symptoms, too. Taking honey may help with nighttime cough for children over 1 year old. Rinsing your nose and sinuses can help with congestion. You can use a neti pot or other nasal rinsing device. Be sure to only use water thats been properly processed, such as distilled or boiled water, not tap water. Nasal rinses can bring relief for both cold and allergies.

Allergies can cause a runny nose and sneezing. But theyre not contagious. If your eyes, nose, or ears itch, that also could be an allergy.

Exposure to things like dust, pets, and tree or grass pollen can trigger allergies, which are caused by the immune systemThe system that protects your body from invading viruses, bacteria, and other microscopic threats. overreacting.

Allergy symptoms tend to stop when youre no longer exposed to the cause. Unless you have asthma, allergies typically do not cause breathing problems. Allergies can be treated with drugs like antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal steroids.

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How Can You Tell If You Have A Sinus Infection Or Covid

You cannot tell if you have COVID or a sinus infection just based on your symptoms alone. Some symptoms of COVID overlap with those of a sinus infection, but there are also symptoms that are specific to one or the other.

While the symptoms of a sinus infection mostly involve your respiratory system, COVID can cause a range of symptoms that affect other parts of your body .

Its also important to note that you can have COVID and not have any symptoms.

Whats The Main Difference Between Sinus Infection And Covid

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The main difference between COVID and a sinus infection is what causes them. A sinus infection is caused by inflammation of the sinuses and often follows a cold or allergy flare-up. COVID-19 is only caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

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Why A True Diagnosis Of Sinusitis Matters

When your symptoms last for a week or more, or continue worsening, its important you receive a diagnostic evaluation. If you have sinusitis that progresses into an infection, you need the right treatment to prevent it from spreading and causing other complications, like anear infection.

Bacterial infections, like those common in sinusitis, can be treated with a course of antibiotics. However,antibiotics wont work on a viral infection or the common cold. For this reason, you need the guidance of Dr. Han and the team at Florida Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center who can determine the root cause of your symptoms and create a custom treatment plan.

Treatment for sinusitis focuses on both the short-term and long-term relief of your symptoms. Initially, you may find relief of pain and nasal congestion with over-the-counter products for acute sinusitis, allergies, and common cold symptoms.

If you suffer from chronic sinus inflammation associated with allergies or have recurrent sinus infections, Dr. Han can prescribe medications to keep symptoms under control or recommend a balloon sinuplasty.

Balloon sinuplasty is an in-office treatment that uses a small balloon to open blocked sinus passages and help you breathe more efficiently. By inflating the balloon inside the sinus cavity, Dr. Han also reshapes the passageway to promote long-term drainage of excess mucus.

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Types Of Sinus Infections: Chronic Vs Acute

There are four types of sinus infections. These classifications depend on the length and frequency of the infection:

  • Acute sinusitis.This type of sinus infection lasts only for a short time, defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as less than 4 weeks. This short-term infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection .
  • Subacute sinusitis. A subacute sinus infection lasts between 4 and 12 weeks .
  • Recurrent acute sinusitis. An acute sinus infection is considered recurrent if the infection returns four or more times within a year, with each infection lasting 7 days or more.
  • Chronic sinusitis.Chronic sinus infections last for more than 12 weeks or continue to recur.

Many sinus infection symptoms are common in both acute and chronic forms. Seeing a doctor is the best way to learn if you have an infection, find the cause, and get treatment.

For cases of acute bacterial sinus infections, these symptoms last at least 10 days without improving, or they worsen within 10 days after seeming to improve. In this case, its important to talk with a doctor, such as a general practitioner or an ear, nose, and throat doctor , to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Learn more about the symptoms of a sinus infection below.

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How To Tell The Difference And What To Do About It

It’s no fun coping with the stuffy, dripping head congestion of a winter bug. But how do you know if you’re fighting a common cold or a sinus infection? “The symptoms can overlap, and it can be hard to tell the difference,” says Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat, an otolaryngologist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

How Does The Prognosis And Duration Of A Cold Differ From That Of A Sinus Infection

Differences between allergies, colds and sinus infections

The prognosis is usually excellent for self-limiting colds although they often may reoccur. Their duration is about 7-11 days. The prognosis of sinus infections may range from good to fair depending on how the infection progresses and/or responds to treatments. Although some acute sinus infections can even be self-limiting , their duration is about 2-4 weeks, while subacute infections last about 4-12 weeks and chronic sinus infections last 12 weeks or more.

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The Difference Between Covid

Cough, cough. Sniff, sniff. I dont feel good, your kid says. Uh-oh, you think. Could it be COVID? Its a normal reaction. Although , wearing a face covering, social distancing and frequently washing your hands are the best ways to and limit the spread, theres still a possibility that you or your child may become infected.

Childrens Hospital Colorado pediatric infectious disease specialist , says that although flu and common cold symptoms can be similar to , there are some important differences to know:

  • COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than the influenza virus and other respiratory viruses. The delta variant makes it even more contagious.
  • COVID-19 causes more serious illness in some people than the flu.
  • It takes longer before people show symptoms of COVID-19, and people can be contagious for longer. Thats why testing, quarantine and isolation are so important.
  • Theres a flu vaccine that is readily available and easily accessible. Though the Food and Drug Administration has authorized for emergency use , we’re still working to vaccinate most of the adult population and waiting on additional data from studies in kids younger than 5.

Even with these differences in mind, its challenging for any parent to sort through the symptoms. Seasonal allergies, wildfire season, poor air quality and an off-schedule cold and flu season only increase confusion.

Is It Flu Covid

Staying Healthy This Winter

Feeling sick can be especially concerning these days. Could your sniffles be caused by COVID-19? Or the flu? A cold? Or maybe allergies?

Determining the cause of an illness can be tricky because many share some symptoms. They can leave you sniffling, coughing, and feeling tired. But there are important differences.

Figuring out whats making you sick can help you recover and prevent spreading sickness to others.

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Symptoms Of Sinus Infection

The most prominent indicator of sinus infections is that the symptoms do not respond to OTC drugs and persist for more than a week. They last well beyond 10 days. The symptoms are as follows:

  • Facial pain and headache, which increase if you lower your head
  • Toothache
  • A reduced sense of smell
  • Yellow or greenish mucus from the nose and throat

What Are The Risk Factors

Is it a Cold or a Sinus Infection?

Colds are very contagious. Young children in daycare settings are especially susceptible to colds and bacterial infections, but people of any age can develop a cold or sinus infection if exposed to the germs causing infection.

Having nasal polyps or other obstructions in your sinus cavity can increase your risk for sinus infections. Thats because these obstructions can lead to inflammation and poor drainage that allows bacteria to breed.

Youre also at increased risk for a cold or a bacterial infection if you have a weakened immune system.

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How Are Sinus Infections And Common Colds Different

Though they are similar, there are some important areas of overlap that can help you tell the difference between a sinus infection and a cold.

One of the biggest signals is the length of time youve been sick. While colds can last a week or more, they usually come on quickly, with symptoms that peak after a few days and then begin to go away. Sinus infections, on the other hand, can linger. So, if youve had a runny nose or sinus pressure thats been around for more than a week, a sinus infection is probably the culprit.

Another major indicator is the nature of your pain. If youre experiencing facial pain or you feel pressure in your sinuses, that leans toward sinus infection rather than a cold. When you blow your nose, note the color of any discharge because that can also help determine the nature of your illness. Clear mucus is typically related to a cold, while yellow or green mucus is more indicative of a sinus infection.

Finally, another important reason why your team at Nest Family Medicine will need to understand your symptoms in detail is that treatment for sinus infections and colds can vary. Sinus infections caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics, while viral sinus infections and common colds cant be cured directly. Treatment of viral infections focuses on relieving symptoms rather than curing the virus.

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