Sinusitis or cold, how to make a difference? - The360 Healthy

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  • Sunday, November 3, 2019

    Sinusitis or cold, how to make a difference?

    Sinusitis or cold, how to make a difference?

    The symptoms of a sinus infection and a viral cold can be confused. But, though antibiotics are sometimes helpful depending on the cause of sinusitis to avoid complications, they are useless for colds. Here's how to avoid self-diagnosis errors.


    Every year, millions of people suffer from sinus infections. These infections are caused by bacteria that develop in the sinuses, these cavities in the back of the nose, eyes, eyebrows and cheekbones, and are painful in the head and face. Usually, sinusitis is triggered by a cold or allergy that causes the mucous membranes of the sinuses to swell and slow down their drainage capacity.

    On the other hand, people with colds of viral origin may think that they have sinusitis. Although antibiotics may be helpful in some people with sinus infections, they are useless when it comes to fighting cold viruses. But then, how to make a difference?

    Unfortunately, the experts' answer is not very clear, according to the Health website. Rules vary on a case-by-case basis, and only 2 to 6% of colds progress to true sinus infection. But despite a number of similar symptoms (runny nose, headache, tiredness) there are differences.

    The duration of symptoms

    The main difference is the duration of the condition. People with colds usually have runny noses for two or three days, followed by a stuffy nose for the same amount of time. A sinus infection, on the other hand, can last up to two weeks. Sinusitis is also sometimes accompanied by low intensity fever.

    Some people are more willing than others to suffer from sinusitis, including those with nasal polyps, a deviated septum, or allergy problems. For most of them, preventive measures help to limit the number of infections, or to relieve symptoms.

    Rest, drinking plenty of fluids, inhalations and salt-water nose cleansing are the most effective remedies for treating sinusitis. Corticosteroids nasal spray may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. When sinusitis is of bacterial origin, the use of antibiotics can speed up the healing process. Untreated, this disease can damage the sinuses. In case of chronic or very intense infection, it is advisable to consult a health professional.

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