Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Cold Vs Sinus Infection Vs Allergies

Common Symptoms Of Colds Sinus Infections And Allergies

Differences between allergies, colds and sinus infections

Many people have been told that the following symptoms are signs of a bacterial sinus infection as opposed to a cold:

  • Facial pain and headache
  • Discolored mucus or sinus drainage
  • Severe nasal congestion

But in reality, these symptoms dont help us distinguish one condition from the other, at least in the first week to 10 days. Generally speaking, all of the classic symptoms of a sinus infection can be present in a cold.

If youve had these symptoms for fewer than seven to 10 days, theyre almost certainly signs of a cold virus. When people have these symptoms for more than seven to 10 days without improvement, thats when we start thinking it might be a bacterial sinus infection. It is also very unusual for a cold, or other viral upper respiratory illness, to worsen after five days. This suggests a transition to a bacterial process. This is important because antibiotics should only be used when a bacterial process is suspected.

The symptoms of allergies dont normally include fever or a lot of discolored sinus drainage. Classic allergy symptoms may include:

  • Scratchy or low-grade sore throat

Some of these are similar to cold or sinus symptoms. The difference is that allergy symptoms dont follow the course of a cold, which runs through its symptoms as the cold progresses. Allergy symptoms are more consistent than cold symptoms. There is often a pattern to the symptoms related to a change in the indoor or outdoor environment .

You Likely Have A Cold If

These are some of the most common signs that you have a head cold:

  • Mucus Color and Texture: When you blow your nose, if you notice that the mucus is thickening or changing color, then the congestion is probably caused by a cold. The immune response within your body can cause the mucus to turn yellow or green, and it thickens up.
  • Other Symptoms: The runny nose and congestion are present along with other symptoms, such as a fever, cough, body aches, headache, and SORE THROAT from drainage.
  • Changing Symptoms: It is common for the symptoms of a cold to change every few days. For example, it often starts as a sore throat, which eventually leads to a fever and stuffy nose a few days into the illness.

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How To Tell The Difference Between Covid

Allergy and sinus symptoms can be similar to COVID-19 symptoms. An otolaryngologist explains how to tell them apart and when you should seek treatment.

Allergy season has become more complicated since the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have allergies or sinus problems, you may not be sure how to tell the difference between those symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms. Jessica Southwood, MD, otolaryngologist, offers expert guidance to help you better understand these three conditions.

Since sinus and allergy symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms can seem similar and have some overlap, it is important to familiarize yourself with the differences. That way, you and your provider can manage your health care appropriately.

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When To See A Doctor

You dont necessarily have to see your doctor for your allergies. The exception is if youve never been diagnosed with allergies before or if your allergies seem to be getting worse.

You should also see your doctor if your OTC antihistamines arent working. They might recommend prescription medications instead. If your allergies have you particularly congested, they might also prescribe a .

Since sinus infections are caused by viruses, antibiotics dont generally help. However, if your symptoms worsen or last longer than two weeks, you should see your doctor for some relief.

Cold Vs Sinus Infection

Colds, Allergies or Sinusitis? Here

A cold is an infection caused by a virus that finds a home in your upper respiratory system, including your nose and throat. Over 200 different viruses are capable of causing a cold, though most of the time a type of rhinovirus, one that primarily affects the nose, is the culprit.

Colds can be so mild you may only have symptoms for a few days, or a cold can hang on for weeks.

Because a common cold is caused by a virus, it cant be effectively treated with antibiotics. Some medications can help reduce symptoms, but rest is usually the main way to beat a cold virus.

A sinus infection causing inflammation of the sinuses, also known as sinusitis, is commonly caused by a bacterial infection, though it can be caused by a virus or fungus .

In some cases, you can develop a sinus infection following a common cold.

A cold can cause the lining of your sinuses to become inflamed, which makes it difficult for them to properly drain. That can lead to mucus becoming trapped in the sinus cavity, which, in turn, can create an inviting environment for bacteria to grow and spread.

You can have an acute sinus infection or chronic sinusitis. An acute sinus infection tends to last for less than a month. Chronic sinusitis lasts for more than three months, and symptoms may regularly come and go.

Among the symptoms shared by a cold and sinus infection are:

  • fever, though with a cold, it tends to be a low-grade fever
  • fatigue, or lack of energy

Recommended Reading: The Allergy Asthma And Sinus Center

Can Allergies Turn Into A Sinus Infection

Whether its sneezing, wheezing, coughing, or sniffling, allergies can make any great day a nightmare, especially if these allergy symptoms grow into something much larger, like a sinus infection!

Now, it is important to understand thatallergies and colds are not the same, but the two may have similar symptoms. Colds, unlike allergies, develop when persons are infected by tiny viruses.Allergies, on the other hand, are triggered by allergens, which can vary from person to person. That being said, the symptoms of either a cold or allergies may grow into a much worse condition like asinus infection.

Its That Time Of The Year Know The Symptoms Of Sinusitis Allergies Or Common Cold So You Get Relief

Story by: Kim Huston on May 2, 2018

Spring in the Ohio Valley is tough all the pollen, grass and mold spores in the air can make for a miserable couple of months for people with allergies. So tough, in fact, that the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America lists Louisville as No.2 on its list of Spring Allergy Capitals.

Seasonal allergies can have many of the same symptoms as other conditions, such as the common cold or a sinus infection. Do you know how to tell the difference?

If you feel like you have a cold every spring and fall, it could be a sign of seasonal allergies. Allergies and colds can trigger sinus infections congestion can create a breeding ground for bacteria. It is important to treat allergy and cold symptoms to prevent the development of a sinus infection.

Whether you have a cold, sinus infection or allergies, antibiotics dont help treat these conditions most of the time. Over-the-counter medications like nasal sprays, oral antihistamines and eye drops can help relieve your symptoms. If youre experiencing allergies, try to limit your exposure to your known triggers.

Heres a symptom checker to help you determine if its a cold, allergies or sinus infection.

Signs and symptoms

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Is Your Child’s Cough An Allergy Cold Or Sinus Infection


Cough and nasal congestion are common symptoms for many illnesses and its important to identify the exact cause for your childs discomfort. Why? Effective treatment starts with an accurate diagnosis. With a little bit of information, parents can begin the diagnosis process at home. Here is how to figure out if you are dealing with an allergic reaction, a viral upper respiratory infection or sinusitis.

It Is The Flu Or A Sinus Infection

Is It A Sinus Infection, Cold Or Allergies?

What is the difference between the flu and a sinus infection? A sinus infection affects primarily the sinuses and most of the symptoms tend to focus on the middle part of the face, where the sinuses are. Actually, the most telling symptom to help you make the difference between the flu and a sinus infection is the fact that a the latter causes a feeling of fullness, tenderness, pressure or even pain in the middle of the face. The flu produces more general symptoms affecting most of the body, including often severe aches and pains, fatigue or even fainting.

Sneezing from the sinus inflammation, loss of smell and taste, bad breath and earaches are more common with sinus infections, whereas chest discomfort and coughing occur more often with the flu. Coughing with a sinus infection is on-and-off and more likely an effect of postnasal drip, when mucus from the nose drips down the back of the throat . Fever and congestion are overlapping symptoms. Both the flu and acute sinusitis can last for 2-4 weeks, but chronic sinusitis can easily last for 2-3 months.

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What Are The Risk Factors

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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Common Sinus Infection Symptoms

  • Loss of smell and taste

In order to determine what condition you are suffering from, your physician will review your list of symptoms and perform a physical exam. The difference between these two conditions can be boiled down into two questions:

Is your sinus congestion accompanied by watery or itchy eyes?

Do you have a headache, pressure or pain in the face and chronic fatigue?

Watery or itchy eyes will lead your doctor to determine that you are suffering from seasonal allergies, while pain or pressure in the face combined with a headache and fatigue is usually an indication that you have a sinus infection.

The reason it is important to figure out what is causing your symptoms is because that will shape your treatment plan.

Antihistamines, decongestants and nasal or oral corticosteroids are used to treat seasonal allergies. Immunotherapy is an option for long-term relief of these symptoms.

Treatment for a sinus infection depends on the infections severity. Saline nasal sprays and corticosteroids are useful for rinsing your nasal passages and relieving inflammation. Decongestants are a good short-term solution, but extended use can actually worsen the condition. Antibiotics are usually prescribed for bacterial infections.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, now is the time to do something about it. Contact your Houston physician to schedule an appointment today.

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Is It A Sinus Infection A Cold Or Allergies

Your nose is stuffed and your head is pounding. Here’s how to tell if a cold, allergies, or a sinus infection is to blame.


A stuffy nose and headache are common symptoms of many illnesses. So how can you tell whether the culprit is a sinus infection, a common cold, or allergies when the symptoms of these three conditions are so similar?

“It can sometimes be difficult even for doctors to differentiate,” says Alan B. Goldsobel, MD, an allergist at Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California and an adjunct associate professor at Stanford University Medical Center in Stanford, California. But there are some key differences that can give you some clues. Get to know more about the symptoms of these three conditions to help you pinpoint the cause of your sinus congestion:

A Sinus Infection

A Cold

  • What it feels like: You can expect a stuffy nose, but also some runny, discolored mucus, Goldsobel explains. You may also experience a sore throat, cough, sneezing, headache, or fatigue. Another sign is a rising temperature: Colds often trigger a fever, he says, but sometimes those fevers are so mild that people think they have allergies instead.
  • What triggers it: A virus.
  • How long it lasts: People usually fend off the cold virus within seven to 10 days, Baroody says. But if your symptoms have lingered past that window of time, you might have sinusitis. If you suspect you have a sinus infection, you should talk to your doctor.

An Allergic Reaction

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

Pin on hack, sniffle, achoo, yuck!

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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What Causes The Common Cold

The common cold is caused by viral strains, such as the rhinovirus, coronavirus, and adenovirus virus.

Over 200 viral strains are known to cause the cold, though the most common is rhinovirus, which is responsible for up to 40 percent of cases. Coronavirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus are also very common.

You can catch this virus by being around someone infected with the virus. You may also breathe in the virus from the air after someone has coughed or sneezed.

Learn The Differences Between Allergy And Sinus Infection Symptoms

From the first sniffle, you may be wondering: Is my runny nose and sinus pressure a sinus infection, or do I have allergies? Though its easy to confuse allergies with sinusitis because they can both cause similar nasal symptoms, each is a distinctly different condition with its own treatments. You should consult your doctor if you have signs of a sinus infection.

*All symptoms are not indicated for Astepro. Astepro is indicated for itchy nose, sneezing, runny nose, and congestion.**A sinus infection is not a disease state that can be treated with an over-the-counter medication

The length of time symptoms may be present can vary, too. Seasonal and year-round allergies can last as long as allergens remain present. Acute sinusitis generally lasts fewer than four weeks and chronic sinusitis can last three months or longer.

Recommended Reading: Home Remedies For Allergies And Sinus Congestion

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.

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

Difference Between Allergies, Colds & Sinus Infections

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.

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What Causes Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is caused by the immune system reacting to an allergen as if it were harmful.

This results in cells releasing a number of chemicals that cause the inside layer of your nose to become swollen and too much mucus to be produced.

Common allergens that cause allergic rhinitis include pollen , as well as mould spores, house dust mites, and flakes of skin or droplets of urine or saliva from certain animals.

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Taking The Right Medication For The Right Illness

The best thing to do for cold or sinus symptoms during the first seven to 10 days is to treat the symptoms, not the illness. You can do this with medications such as:

Cold viruses dont respond to antibiotics, so taking them during the first seven days probably wont help. In fact, taking antibiotics when theyre not needed can increase your risk for being infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or other serious antibiotic related problems.

After seven to 10 days, when the symptoms are more likely to indicate a sinus infection, it may be time to ask your doctor about antibiotics. However, sinus infections can and do sometimes go away on their own, just like colds. Ask your doctor if you need an antibiotic or if the infection is likely to go away on its own without medication.

If your symptoms point to allergies, many effective medications are available over the counter to control symptoms, such as antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays. These medications work on all sorts of allergies because they suppress the bodys reactions to allergens, rather than treating the specific allergen. Some antihistamines can cause drowsiness, however, so be cautious of that when taking them. They also do not help stuffiness or pressure symptoms, so adding a decongestant plus a pain reliever as needed can help you ride it out.

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