The last thing anybody wants to experience right now is a dreaded cough, congestion or fever. If you experience these symptoms, it’s important to be tested for COVID-19 to stop the spread right away. If your test comes back negative, there are two likely culprits behind your symptoms: the common cold or a sinus infection.
How to Tell if You Have a Cold
The reason having a cold is so common is because there are more than 200 viruses that can cause it. The most common type of virus comes from a family called rhinoviruses, which account for up to 40% of all colds. Each year, the average adult has two to three colds, and children tend to have even more.
Risk factors for catching a cold include close contact with someone who has a cold (including at the Brazos Natural Foods), cold/dry weather during the fall and winter, and age.
Symptoms of a cold typically peak within two to three days and include:
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Post-nasal drip (mucus draining down the throat)
- Fever (not everyone gets a fever when they have a cold)
Some symptoms, especially runny/stuffy nose and cough, may last up to two weeks, but even so, symptoms should improve over time, not worsen.
How to Tell if You Have a Sinus Infection
The sinuses are air-filled, interconnected pockets located between the eyes and behind the nose, cheeks and forehead. Membranes within the walls of the sinuses produce mucus in order to capture germs, which drains primarily through the nose.
A cold can infect the sinuses, causing inflammation known as sinusitis. Sometimes the sinuses also become infected with bacteria, and the result is a sinus infection that requires antibiotics.
With both viral and bacterial sinusitis, the swelling prevents the mucus from draining, causing pressure, pain, congestion, thick discharge, poor sense of smell, headache, pain in the teeth, fatigue and fever.
Acute Vs. Chronic
Sinus infections may be acute or chronic, depending on how long they last. According to Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat, an otolaryngologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, “We differentiate the types of sinusitis based on the duration of symptoms, which include blockage in the nose, drainage from the nose, facial pain or pressure, and decreased sense of smell. If you have two of those for at least 12 weeks, you meet clinical criteria for chronic sinusitis.” For more information about differentiating between a cold and sinus infection or to schedule an appointment with an expert otolaryngologist, call Texas ENT & Allergy today.