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Sharp Health News

Cold vs. sinus infection (infographic)

Jan. 24, 2019

Sinusitis, commonly known as a sinus infection, isn't always easy to identify. Its symptoms, such as fever, a runny nose and head pressure, can easily be dismissed as allergies or an everyday cold. But sinusitis can be a frustrating infection that takes much longer to heal.

Dr. Matthew Messoline, a family medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, shares symptoms, treatments and advice for dealing with this common problem.

Cold vs. sinus infection (infographic). The common cold can be miserable. But if symptoms linger, you could be dealing with a sinus infection. Learn the differences so you can get the right treatment. From sniffles to sinusitis. Sinusitis, commonly known as a sinus infection, occurs when mucus buildup causes inflammation. It can be triggered by: Viruses (like a common cold), bacteria, allergies or asthma. Sinus infections can be hard to recognize, as they share many symptoms with the common cold: headache, fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, runny and/or stuffy nose, swollen sinuses, mucus buildup. What's the difference? Cold symptoms: The symptoms of a common cold will usually improve within 10-14 days. Sinusitis symptoms: The biggest indicator of sinusitis is that symptoms fail to improve within 10-14 days. Other signs of sinusitis are: Initial improvement, followed by acute worsening. High fever with worsening symptoms. Pressure behind the eyes, cheeks, forehead or teeth. Yellow, green or gray mucus. Treatment options. Antibiotics can't help a cold. But your doctor may have prescription medication recommendations for sinusitis. Cold: fluids, rest, over-the-counter medication. Sinusitis: In most cases, sinusitis goes away on its own. But always consult your doctor with any questions or concerns. From the expert. A sinus infection looks a lot like a cold, but it lasts longer. Do your best to stay healthy by frequently washing your hands. - Dr. Matthew Messoline, family medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group. 2019 Sharp HealthCare. All rights reserved.

View the printable version of this infographic.

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