It’s normal to experience a stuffy nose or sore throat during the winter months when the air is dry, but in the age of COVID-19, it’s essential to be mindful of these symptoms and take them seriously. It’s easy to mistake the coronavirus for another more benign condition like a sinus infection and vice versa, which is why we’ve compiled a guide to help you tell the difference.
What Are the Symptoms of a Sinus Infection?
The term “sinus infection” describes inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages. In most cases, this inflammation is caused by a virus like the common cold; however, this inflammation can cause bacteria to become trapped, leading to a bacterial sinus infection. This type of infection usually requires antibiotics to treat it.
Typical symptoms of a sinus infection include:
- Nasal congestion/discharge
- Facial pain/pressure
- Tooth ache
- Loss of smell
- Pressure in the ears
- Hearing loss/tinnitus
- Bad breath
While most sinus infections last less than four weeks, they can persist 12 weeks or more.
What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?
The list of known symptoms associated with COVID-19 is long and continues to grow as researchers learn more. The most commonly reported symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of taste/smell
In addition, many also experience:
- Body aches
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
How to Tell the Difference Between the Two
The main difference between a sinus infection and COVID-19 is that sinus infection symptoms are typically centered around the upper respiratory tract and involve pain and pressure in the sinuses. With the coronavirus, you’re likely to also experience some full-body symptoms like fever, aches, stomach problems or shortness of breath.
Unfortunately, the two are not mutually exclusive; it is possible to have both COVID-19 and a sinus infection. This is why it’s important to talk to your doctor or get a COVID test if you’re not sure, especially if you’ve recently flown in or out of Easterwood Airport. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Texas ENT & Allergy today.