Catching a cold and getting a sinus infection are often hard to distinguish. Cold and sinus infection have some overall general symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, congestion, and general feeling of discomfort. You don’t want to misinterpret a sinus infection as a cold, do you? So, here are some factors that will help you to distinguish a cold and a sinus infection.

When You Have a Cold

Catching a cold can be irritating especially when you have to deal with a stuffy nose and mucus buildup. A cold is a common illness which is caused by a tiny virus. Although there are up to 200 types of virus that maybe the reason for you to catch a cold, one of the common viruses is known as the rhinovirus, the cause for at least 50% of colds. Other viruses that are responsible for causing colds are coronavirus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza and parainfluenza.

Besides stuffy nose and the clog of mucus, here are some other symptoms of having a cold.

  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Sneezing
  • Fatigue
  • Low grade fever
  • Swollen sinuses

How is it different with a Sinus Infection?

Sinus infection or sinusitis is referred to the inflammation of the tissue that lines the sinuses. There are a few types of conditions that promotes sinus blockage which are:

  • Common cold
  • Allergic rhinitis, the swelling of the lining of the nose
  • Nasal polyps, small growths in the lining of the nose
  • Deviated septum, a shift in the nasal cavity.

One can actually identify a sinus infection through the following symptoms:

  • Pain or pressure on the face
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Loss of smell
  • Cough or congestion
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • Dental pain

But, it is also important for you to take note that sinusitis can be classified into several categories. Two of the most common types of sinusitis are:

  1. Acute Sinusitis or also known as Acute Rhinosinusitis, is the inflammation of the membranes lining the nose and sinuses. This is commonly due to a cold that causes viral infection.
  2. Chronic Sinusitis occurs when the symptoms actually last more than 12 weeks. Look out for these symptoms which may be the signs of chronic sinusitis.
  • Congestion or fullness in your face
  • A nasal obstruction or nasal blockage
  • Fever
  • Runny nose or discolored postnasal drainage

Now, you know the differences between a common cold and a sinus infection. Watch out for the symptoms and be wise to consult a doctor when you have any of these symptoms for a prolonged period.


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