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.
What Is The Best Medication To Dry Up Sinus Drainage
The best medication to dry up sinus drainage is over-the-counter decongestant medications. These are available in different forms, such as solutions, sprays, and drops. In addition to using decongestant medications, you should take a warm shower or bath with a cup of Epsom salts to clean your sinuses.
You can also try saline nasal drops or prescription drugs such as antihistamines or steroid nasal sprays to deal with the symptoms associated with rhinorrhea and sinusitis.
Another option for dealing with the drainage from your nose and throat is nasal irrigation. One way to perform this irrigation is by using a Neti pot with a small spout that goes into one nostril, then up into the nasal cavity, and out through the other side of your nose.
All in all, its crucial for people diagnosed with sinus infections to avoid triggers frequently so that their nasal congestion does not worsen over time.
They must follow their physicians instructions for treating their illness effectively, including reducing risk factors as much as possible.
How Can I Prevent A Sore Throat
- Avoid smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Tobacco smoke, whether primary or secondary, contains hundreds of toxic chemicals that can irritate the throat lining.
- If you have seasonal allergies or ongoing allergic reactions to dust, molds, or pet dander, youâre more likely to develop a sore throat than people who donât have allergies.
- Avoid exposure to chemical irritants. Particulate matter in the air from the burning of fossil fuels, as well as common household chemicals, can cause throat irritation.
- If you experience chronic or frequent sinus infections you are more likely to experience a sore throat, since drainage from nose or sinus infections can cause throat infections as well.
- If you live or work in close quarters such as a child care center, classroom, office, prison, or military installation, you are at greater risk because viral and bacterial infections spread easily in environments where people are in close proximity.
- Maintain good hygiene. Do not share napkins, towels, and utensils with an infected person. Wash your hands regularly with soap or a sanitizing gel, for 10-15 seconds.
If you have HIV or diabetes, are undergoing steroid treatment or chemotherapy, are experiencing extreme fatigue or have a poor diet, you have reduced immunity and are more susceptible to infections
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Corticosteroid Drops Or Sprays
Corticosteroids, also known as steroids, are a group of medications that can help to reduce inflammation.
If you have persistent symptoms of sinusitis, your GP may prescribe steroid nasal drops or sprays to help reduce the swelling in your sinuses. These may need to be used for several months.
Possible side effects include nasal irritation, a sore throat and nosebleeds.
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When A Sinus Infection Wont Go Away
While its true that sinus infections sometimes clear on their own, antibiotics can sometimes shorten their duration.
Talk with your doctor if your symptoms dont subside within 10 days or if you have persistent fevers, facial swelling or neck stiffness. As with colds, make sure you hit the sheets and get enough rest and drink your H2O. Proper hydration and nasal irrigation can ease sinus infection symptoms.
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Can Allergies Cause A Sore Throat
Allergies are frequently the underlying source of sore throat symptoms. When allergens floating in the air trigger a histamine reaction, the bodys response often leads to inflammation and irritation of the throat or pharynx. If you are diagnosed with a sore throat as a result of allergies, this can also be termed pharyngitis.
Other common symptoms that go alongside a sore throat from allergies include dry throat, trouble swallowing, stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes or throat. Since many of these symptoms can also be associated with other causes, an allergy test will be the best way to determine if this is the true source of your sore throat issues. One sign that allergies may be the root cause is the sore throat persisting beyond a week and becoming a chronic problem. In this case you should see a doctor and discuss any potential for allergies.
Some of the most common allergies that cause sore throat symptoms are:
- Smoke or Pollution
Children And Sinus Infections
Unfortunately, there is no age minimum for sinus infections, and they are more difficult to detect and diagnose in children. As with adult cases, be suspicious if a runny nose or a cough lasts more than a couple of days, if a child seems lethargic, stops eating or drinking, sleeps restlessly or complains of frequent headaches.
Teach your children the benefits of proper hygiene and be prudent during flu and cold season and watchful when the pollen count or pollution index are high. As with other respiratory problems, the sinuses can be affected by environmental factors, by smoke and sometimes by strong odors.
Armed with a normal measure of knowledge and concern, you should feel confident in your ability to deal with the signs and symptoms of sinus infections, and to find effective advice and treatment if you suspect that’s what ails you or your family.
Contact Houston ENT today at 649-7000 if you feel you or a loved one is suffering from a sinus infection!
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How Can Sinus Infections Or Sinusitis Be Prevented
Prevention of a sinus infection depends upon its cause.
- Avoid contracting upper respiratory tract infections. Maintain strict hand washing habits and avoid people who are suffering from a cold or the flu.
- Obtaining the flu vaccination yearly will help to prevent the flu and subsequent infection of the upper respiratory tract.
- In some studies, zinc carbonate lozenges have been shown to reduce the duration of many cold symptoms.
- Stress reduction and a diet rich in antioxidants, especially fresh, dark-colored fruits and vegetables, may help strengthen the immune system.
- Plan for seasonal allergy attacks.
- If a sinus infection is caused by seasonal or environmental allergies, avoiding allergens is very important. If avoidance is not an option, either OTC or prescription medication may be helpful. OTC antihistamines or decongestant nasal sprays can be used for an acute attack.
- People who have seasonal allergies may benefit from nonsedating prescription antihistamines during allergy-season.
- Avoid spending long periods outdoors during allergy season. Close the windows to the house and use air conditioning to filter out allergens when possible. Humidifiers may also be helpful.
- Allergy shots, also called immunotherapy, may be effective in reducing or eliminating sinusitis due to allergies. An allergist administers shots regularly for 3 to 5 years, which often produces a reduction or complete remission of allergy symptoms for years.
Can A Sinus Infection Cause A Sore Throat
A sore throat can just be a symptom of a common cold that will soon clear up. Other times, however, it can be an indication that you may have a sinus infection.
In this blog, the board-certified ear, nose, and throat doctors with New York ENT explain how a sinus infection can cause a sore throat, as well as other symptoms.
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Natural Treatments For Earache And Sore Throat
To relieve a painful sore throat and an accompanying earache, there are several natural home remedies you can try.
1. Gargle warm water every 30 minutes to nip early symptoms. For stronger aches in the ear and throat, gargle every 15 minutes, adding apple cider vinegar or cayenne pepper to the water.
2. Hot liquids sooth a sore throat. You can drink plain warm water, hot lemon tea, or even tea with honey.
3. Massage one teaspoon of olive oil and sandal or thyme oil onto the neck before wrapping it with a scarf. To help the ear, dip a towel in hot water before wrapping it around the head, covering the ears.
4. Ginger has also been used since ancient times to cure a number of aches and pains. You can add ginger to a warm drink or drink ginger tea.5. Garlic has been used for centuries to cure various ailments. Use two cloves of garlic in drinks or soups to heal a sore throat. For an earache, heat a mixture of one half of a garlic clove and sesame oil and allow it to drip in one ear and then the other after 10 minutes.
Sinus Pain And Pressure
Fluid trapped in the sinuses can fill the sinus cavities, causing intense pain and pressure. The sinuses may be sensitive to the touch. A person may have an urge to sneeze but be unable to do so.
The pain can be in the cheeks, around the eyes and nose, or in the forehead because these areas are where the sinuses are. Bending over may make the pain worse.
Sometimes, the pressure and pain are intense enough to interfere with sleep.
Sinusitis may also cause the tissue in the nose to swell.
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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.
Warm Liquids And Certain Foods
Warm liquids such as tea and coffee can greatly help soothe a sore throat. But its important to remember to limit your caffeine intake and to stay hydrated. If you are going to drink warm liquids, non-caffeinated tea with honey is a great option. Eating certain foods, including spicy foods, can also help break up your congestion, which may temporarily help reduce post-nasal drip.
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How Can I Tell If I Have A Sinus Infection Cold Or Nasal Allergy
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a cold, allergies, and a sinus infection. The common cold typically builds, peaks, and slowly disappears. It lasts a few days to a week. A cold can transform into a sinus infection. Nasal allergy is inflammation of the nose due to irritating particles . Symptoms of a nasal allergy can include sneezing, itchy nose and eyes, congestion, runny nose, and post nasal drip . Sinusitis and allergy symptoms can happen at the same time as a common cold.
If you are fighting off a cold and develop symptoms of a sinus infection or nasal allergy, see your healthcare provider. You will be asked to describe your symptoms and medical history.
Attention For Throat Pain
Theres no denying the discomfort that comes with a scratchy throat. Its time to visit our office when your pain is accompanied by specific symptoms, including:
- Difficulty turning your head
- A fever over 101 degrees F
- Pain that impedes sleeping, talking, or eating
- Pus on the tonsils
These symptoms may indicate a strep infection that can be easily detected with a throat swab. If the test comes back positive, our staff will prescribe antibiotics. If you dont have a serious infection, youll be given relief from your symptoms so you can finally rest and recover.
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What Causes Postnasal Drip
- Certain medications, including some for birth control and blood pressure
- Deviated septum, which is the crooked placement of the wall that separates the two nostrils, or some other problem with the structure of the nose that affects the sinuses
- Changing weather, cold temperatures, or really dry air
- Fumes from chemicals, perfumes, cleaning products, smoke, or other irritants
Sometimes the problem is not that youre producing too much mucus, but that its not being cleared away. Swallowing problems can cause a buildup of liquids in the throat, which can feel like postnasal drip. These problems can sometimes occur with age, a blockage, or conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD.
What You Should Do If Your Throat Is Swollen
There are many reasons why your throat could be swollen, but it can be difficult to figure out which one you have. When in doubt, its best to see your doctor for a diagnosis. You shouldnt try to treat yourself or give yourself medication for any reason because it could have serious consequences down the line. Talk with your doctor about how to get this resolved, dont risk the health of your life by trying to diagnose yourself.
Every year, millions of people suffer from a sore throat. It is very common for people to have swollen throats at some point. Here are a few things you can do to help your throat feel better:
Drink lots of fluids both water and tea will help keep your mucous membranes moistened and keep your throat from drying out.
If your throat is swollen, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. This condition can be caused by a variety of things, but it is usually caused by an infection with the strep throat bacteria. Swelling in your throat can make it hard for you to breathe and swallow, not to mention it’s extremely painful. There are three different types of actions you should take if your throat is swollen.
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Persistent Sore Throats In Children
Children are more susceptible to conditions or viruses that can cause chronic sore throat symptoms, such as the common cold and other viral or bacterial infections. Usually, children are more prone to tonsillitis, which can cause severe throat pain, although this can affect people of any age. The best treatment for children with a chronic sore throat will depend on whether the source of the issue is a bacterial infection, a viral infection, or underlying allergies.
When To Seek Medical Treatment For Sinusitis And Bronchitis
When it comes to getting over a sinus infection or bronchitis, patience and time are usually the best remedies. Because most infections are viral, prescription antibiotics arent always an effective treatment option and taking them can be dangerous and lead to problems related to antibiotic resistance. In most cases, infections related to sinusitis and bronchitis will resolve on their own.
Within a week of getting sick, symptoms related to sinusitis or bronchitis should start to improve. If you dont start feeling better or feel worse, its a good idea to reach out to a medical provider who can provide guidance about managing symptoms and also about your treatment options.
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What Causes Sinusitis
Sinusitis can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus that swells and blocks the sinuses. A few specific causes include:
- The common cold.
- Nasal and seasonal allergies, including allergies to mold.
- A deviated septum. The septum is the line of cartilage that divides your nose. A deviated septum means that it isnt straight, so that it is closer to the nasal passage on one side of your nose, causing a blockage.
- A weak immune system from illness or medications.
For infants and young children, spending time in day cares, using pacifiers or drinking bottles while lying down could increase the chances of getting sinusitis.
For adults, smoking increases the risks for sinus infections. If you smoke, you should stop. Smoking is harmful to you and to the people around you.
How Can I Treat This
While there are some treatments for the sore throat caused by post-nasal drip, the most effective course of action is to treat the cause of the irritation – the sinus infection itself.
You can still treat the irritation and soothe your throat though. Over the counter medications such as pain relievers can help. Warm liquids, such as soups and caffeine-free teas are also soothing on the throat. Steamy showers, humidifiers, and Neti pots can help loosen and flush out mucus, reducing irritation on the throat.
In any case, the best course of action is to see your doctor. Not only can they correctly diagnose your source of infection, but they can also help you choose the best course of treatment for your particular illness.
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Is There A Rash
A rash on your neck and chest that sometimes spreads to the rest of your body can be a sign of a group of bacterial infections called streptococcal infections. The most minor of these is strep throat, but they also include more serious ones, like scarlet fever, bacteremia , and toxic shock syndrome. They all need to be treated by a doctor — usually with antibiotics — as soon as possible.
When To Suspect A Sinus Infection
How do you know if you have a sinus infection? The best way, of course, is to see a doctor. Because there are a wide variety of sinus infection symptoms and they may mimic the signs of other respiratory illness or seasonal allergies, the best way to be certain is to pay a visit to your doctor. However, first put on your detective hat and check for the following common signs. If you have a cold, you can also have an accompanying sinus infection, but they both should clear within a week.
Here are the most common complaints:
- Dull Pain: It can radiate from one or both sides of your nose, extend to the middle of your head between your eyes, or appear as dagger-like flashes along your upper jaw and teeth. You may only feel a kind of generalized pressure in your face and head, and it may feel worse when lying down, or when you first get up in the morning.
- Congestion: Swollen nasal passages make it difficult to breathe, and if the inflammation is combined with any kind of discharge, a sinus infection causes a lot of discomfort.
- Nasal Discharge: There are only two ways to eliminate nasal discharge: by blowing your nose, or by allowing it to drain down the throat. Either can be problematic. If the mucous is thick, cloudy, or tends toward green or yellow, you most likely have a sinus infection. It’s time to call your doctor.
- Hoarseness: Postnasal drip causes irritation and, if allowed to continue, it usually gets worse.
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