It is often hard to differentiate between colds and sinus infections since they both have similar symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, congestions and a general feeling of discomfort. Here are some facts that can help you distinguish between the two.
When you have a cold
Catching a cold can be irritating especially when you need to deal with a stuffy nose and mucus build-up. A cold is a common illness caused by a tiny virus. There are up to 200 types of viruses that are thought to cause colds; however, one of the most common viruses that is responsible for at least 50% of colds is known as the rhinovirus. Other viruses that are responsible for causing colds are the coronavirus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza and parainfluenza.
Other symptoms of having a cold include:
- Sore throat
- Low-grade fever
- Swollen sinuses
How is it different from a sinus infection?
Sinus infection or sinusitis refers to the inflammation of the tissue that lines the sinuses. The few conditions that promote sinus blockage are:
- Common cold
- Allergic rhinitis, i.e. the swelling of the lining of the nose
- Nasal polyps, i.e. small growths in the lining of the nose
- Deviated septum, i.e. a shift in the nasal cavity
A sinus infection can be identified by the following symptoms:
- Pain or pressure on the face
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Loss of smell
- Cough or congestion
- Bad breath
- Dental pain
It is also important to take note that there are a few types of sinusitis. These are:
- Acute Sinusitis, also known as Acute Rhinosinusitis, which is the inflammation of the membranes lining the nose and sinuses. This lasts for less than four weeks
- Subacute Sinusitis, which occurs when symptoms last from four to 12 weeks
- Chronic Sinusitis, which occurs when the symptoms last for more than 12 weeks
The common signs of chronic sinusitis are:
- Congestion or fullness in your face
- Nasal obstruction or nasal blockage
- Runny nose or discoloured postnasal drainage
- Reduced sense of smell and taste
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.