Is It The Flu Or A Sinus Infection
The fall and winter months are prime times during the year for flu and sinus infections. Five to twenty percent of the US population gets the flu virus each year while 30 million Americans get sinus infections. The problem is that both diseases have similar symptoms which makes it difficult to discern between them, especially in the early stages.
Flu SymptomsFever, body aches and fatigue are symptoms typically experienced with the flu.
- Sore throat & dry, irritating cough
- Body aches
- Fever greater than 102 degrees F
- Flushed color in your face
Facial pain, nasal congestion and postnasal drip are seen with most sinus infections.
Is It the Flu or a Sinus Infection? Quick Answers.Have a fever?The flu causes temperature spikes. Its rare to have a fever with a sinus infection. If you do, the temperature is usually low grade.
Have pain?With a sinus infection, aches are more focused in the facial region. With the flu, muscle aches spread throughout the body.
Have a cough?A cough is possible with the flu and a sinus infection.
Have a sinus congestion or a runny nose?Mucus is the key. Yellowish-greenish mucus typically indicates a sinus infection.
Felt sick for a while?A sinus infection can last for weeks. The flu comes on strong but usually only takes a week to resolve itself. You feel more fatigued with the flu.
How to Treat the Flu
What to Do If You Have a Sinus Infection
Symptoms Of A Sinus Infection
Common symptoms of sinus infections may include:
- Runny nose or cold symptoms that last longer than seven to 10 days
- Complaints of drip in the throat from the nose
- Keep chronic diseases under control
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth
- Stay current on your vaccines
- Wash your hands frequently
Some Steps You Can Take
Whether your sinus infection turns out to be viral or bacterial, you can help to ease your symptoms early on with supportive sinus care:
If your symptoms arent improving after one week, its important to see your doctor. If a bacterial infection is suspected, youll probably need to take an antibiotic to clear up the infection and prevent further complications.
If your infections occur more frequently, and your doctor really wants to establish if they are bacterial or viral, your Otolaryngologist or ear, nose and throat doctor can sample the snot from your nose when youre infected and send it to a laboratory to know for sure.
Note: Antibiotics wont help a viral infection, and taking an antibiotic unnecessarily can do more harm than good. You risk possible side effects and increase your chances of developing antibiotic resistance, which can make future infections harder to treat, says Dr. Sindwani. So its important to wait and see how long your symptoms last.
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Signs It May Be A Sinus Infection And Not The Flu/cold
During the winter season, its common to get a case of the cold or flu, but its important to know when its something more serious, like a sinus infection. The sooner you catch your symptoms, the sooner you can take steps to treat it.
Symptoms of the common cold and a sinus infection can be similar at first: sore throat, runny nose, cough. But sinus infections also cause facial pain, as the pressure in the sinuses build up. Most cases of a sinus infection are viral and can be treated with pain control , nasal sprays , and saline sprays, to help with the discomfort.
3 Signs that you might have a sinus infection and may want to make an appointment to see a doctor
If you experience any of these symptoms and your physician diagnoses you with bacterial sinusitis, they may prescribe an antibiotic to help you feel better.
Throat Irritation And Cough
As discharge from your sinuses drains down the back of your throat, it can cause irritation, especially over a long period of time. This can lead to a persistent and annoying cough, which can be worse when lying down to sleep or first thing in the morning after getting up from bed.
It can also make sleeping difficult. Sleeping upright or with your head elevated can help reduce the frequency and intensity of your coughing.
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Should I Go To Work With A Sinus Infection
If you have a new or ongoing cough, a high temperature or youve noticed a change in your sense of smell or taste, you may have coronavirus . Read more about coronavirus or use our Coronavirus Risk Assessment to check your risk.
A sinus infection occurs when your sinuses become inflamed due to infection. Most sinus infections are caused by a virus, but they can be caused by bacteria.
Similar symptoms to a sinus infection can also be caused by allergies, pollutants, an infected tooth, or fungal infections.
Usually, you can only spread your illness to others if it is caused by a contagious infection.
In this article, you will learn about the symptoms and treatment of sinus infections, how contagious they are, and if you should go to work when you have one.
The following information applies to adults.
What Are The Different Types Of Sinus Infections
Most sinus infections are caused by viruses, and theyll usually go away on their own. In fact, if the infection doesnt clear up after a week to 10 days, it can be an indication that its caused by bacteria. It may have started as a bacterial infection, or a viral infection may develop into a bacterial infection after your sinuses become filled with fluid and bacteria then forms.
If you have sinus infections that seem to clear up only to shortly return, you probably have a bacterial infection. Thick, dark, or greenish-yellow nasal discharge is another indication, but your doctor can perform tests to verify the type of infection if needed.
Sinus infections can also be classified as acute or chronic. Acute infections usually start suddenly with symptoms such as a runny, stuffy nose and facial pain and can last up to four weeks. Chronic sinusitis occurs when your infection persists for at least 12 weeks despite attempts to treat it.
In the short term, a sinus infection can cause a long list of symptoms, including the following:
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What Happens If Sinus Infection Goes Untreated
Untreated sinus infections might seem like nothing to be concerned about. Sinusitis is often disregarded as being an inconvenience but nothing to worry about. While this is true if your infection is treated properly, there are some dangerous complications if it is left untreated including:
- Cyst-like mass formed when sinuses are unable to drain mucus
- Spread of infection to other parts of the body
- Sinus infection can spread to the eyes
Continue reading: Is a sinus infection contagious?
What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Sinusitis
When you have a sinus infection, you often have to go through your day in pain and in a fog. Sinusitis, or infection of the sinuses, is incredibly common, but many people suffer through it rather than get it treated. At Asthma Allergy Centre in Tigard, McMinnville, or Beaver, OR, we use a variety of sinus management treatments to reduce the inflammation and immune response that are likely behind your sinus problems. Check out on how to get rid of sinusitis.
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Physician Diagnosis Of Sinusitis
Physicians can conduct several tests to confirm a diagnosis of sinusitis.5 They may use transillumination, in which a light is placed against the sinus to see signs of infection. They may employ nasal endoscopy or rhinoscopy, in which a fiberoptic scope is used to directly visualize the sinus cavities. CT scanning of the sinuses allows the physician to view the bones and tissues of the sinuses, and an MRI can visualize tumors or fungal infections. The physician may also simply tap the area overlying the sinuses to locate sites of infection.
Several conditions mimic sinus infection, including the common cold, influenza, nasal polyposis, sarcoidosis, neoplasia, acquired and congenital immuno-deficiency, allergic and nonallergic rhinitis, Wegeners granulomatosis, and fungal infection.1 To identify these, physicians might check the nostrils for nasal polyps and recommend such examinations as allergy testing, blood tests for HIV and/or immune status, sweat chloride analysis or blood work for cystic fibrosis, nasal ciliary function tests, nasal cytology, and nasal culture.2,4
How To Tell If You Have An Actual Sinus Infection
Even though we often say we have a sinus infection even if its just inflammation or an allergic response, there are symptoms of an actual infection that may be treatable with antibiotics. Nasal congestion and pain under the eyes or around the temples are, of course, main symptoms, but others include the loss of the sense of smell, green nasal discharge, mucus dripping down your throat, cough, fever, fatigue, sore throat, and even bad breath.
Sometimes, a sinus infection will clear up without intervention, but if you develop a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, have your symptoms for 10 or more days, notice that your symptoms are getting worse and are not improved by OTC medications, or you have multiple infections in a years time, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
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When Should I Call The Doctor
- a cold that lasts for more than 710 days without improvement
- a cold that seems to be getting worse after 7 days of symptoms
- symptoms of allergies that don’t clear with the usual allergy medicine
Also call if your child shows any other signs of worsening sinusitis, such as:
- pain or pressure in the cheeks or around the eyes
- swelling around the eye
Can A Sinus Infection Go Into Your Chest
Can a sinus infection go into your chest? Infection with a cold or flu virus is among the most common causes of chest congestion and happens when the infection progresses from the upper respiratory tract your nasal passages, sinuses and throatinto the lower respiratory tractyour breathing tubes and lungs.
Can sinusitis cause a chest infection? As many people have discovered through experience, sinusitis can lead to bronchitis, as the two problems share the same germs. The bronchial disease involves inflammation of the mucous membrane in the bronchial passages or airways. Bronchitis takes two forms, acute and chronic.
Can sinusitis cause upper respiratory infection? However, other types of infections can cause a URI too. Influenza, sinus infections, tonsillitis, and strep throat are just a few other types of upper respiratory tract infections.
How do you get rid of a sinus infection in your chest? Sleep with your head propped up on several pillows to make breathing easier and prevent mucus from accumulating in your chest overnight. Take a hot shower and breathe in the steam to ease congestion. Try an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to ease body aches and reduce fever.
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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.
The Difference Between A Common Cold And A Sinus Infection
There is a large crossover between the symptoms of a cold and a sinus infection, making it confusing to self-diagnose. In both a cold and sinusitis, you might experience postnasal drip, low-grade fevers, headaches, fatigue, a cough, congestion, etc. Outside of the sinus pressure and green snot that is suggestive of sinusitis, the main difference is the recovery time.
Your cold should go away within 10 days, maximum. So, how long does a sinus infection last?
If you have a common cold that lasts longer than two weeks, you might actually have a sinus infection. Acute sinus infections can last up to four weeks. If your sinus infection lasts for more than 12 weeks without any relief, you should schedule an appointment to see your doctor.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
How Do You Know If Your Sinus Infection Is Getting Better
Lets say you do have a fever and thick, yellowish mucus. Odds are its a sinus infection. But how do you know whether or not its a bacterial sinus infection?If youre on day 3 or 4 of an infection, it will be difficult to ascertain what kind of infection you have on your own.
However, if youre somewhere between day 7 and day 11, this is what you should be on the lookout for:
- Fever is completely gone or noticeably improving
- Your congestion and discharge is obviously lessening
- You dont feel as fatigued as you did a few days ago
The theme here is obvious improvement. If your situation is improving, then you probably have a viral sinus infection and do not need antibiotics. If your situation is not improving , schedule an appointment with your doctor.
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Which Antibiotics Are Best For Sinus Infections In Children
- The antibiotic of choice for both children and adults who are not allergic to penicillin is amoxicillin with clavulanic acid .
- Azithromycin is NOT recommended for sinusitis due to bacterial resistance.
- Cefinir and other cephalosporins are NOT recommended for sinusitis except in combination therapy with clindamycin for children with non-life- threatening allergic reactions to penicillin. In these cases, the cephalosporin of choice is cefixime .
- Levofloxacin or doxycycline are the recommended antibiotics for adults with true penicillin allergies. Levofloxacin can also be considered for the treatment of children with life-threatening allergic reactions to penicillin. Doxycyline is not for use in children.
- Oral decongestants are not recommended for the treatment of sinusitis. Antihistamines may be used if there are underlying seasonal/environmental allergies.
- Nasal steroid sprays and nasal saline flushes can be helpful for sinusitis.
Lou Romig, MD, FAAP, FACEP, Medical Director
After Hours Pediatrics Urgent Care
Does Running Make Your Sinus Infection Worse
The answer is dependent on the symptoms of the condition and how well you are. Again sinus infection symptoms are usually mild. Oftentimes, they should not be severe enough to keep you in bed. In general, exercising with mild sinusitis symptoms may be OK this is particularly true if you have been so great about your exercise routine before.
Exercise, including running, is excellent booster for the performance of your body immune system. About 3 minutes of moderate, regular exercise may help boost the levels of your T cells, which play a part in your bodys first defenses against invader and infection.
And stronger immune system is what you need when your body is fighting against infection. Furthermore, mild-moderate physical activity may even help improve your nasal congestion, because it can help open you nasal passages.
But although your exercise is helpful to provide a mental and physical boost, there other occasions when you need to take a break .
If the symptoms get worse , hitting the treadmill is a definite no-no! Exercise with fever could be counterproductive or even dangerous.
During exercise, you will have raising body temperature internally. And if you already have fever , your high body temperature can go to overdrive. This will make you even sicker!
EIR is a lot like allergic rhinitis, a term of diagnosis associated with a group of nasal symptoms that develop when you breathe in allergen or something youre allergic to .
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