How To Tell The Difference Between A Cold & A Sinus Infection

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Cold and flu season is upon us. With that being said it’s very difficult to determine when it’s just a regular cold or if it’s something a little more difficult to get rid of, like a sinus infection. The worst thing about being sick with a sinus infection is that for the first few days you think it’s a cold so you end up suffering for longer than you have to.

The first indicator to tell what you actually have (and slightly avoid having to wait in a long line up at the doctor’s office) is determining the difference in the symptoms.

Common cold symptoms include:

  • Sore Throat
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Headache
  • Stuffy Nose
  • Low-Grade Fever
  • Mucus Build Up
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen Sinuses

Common sinus infection symptoms include:

  • Pressure behind the eyes, cheeks, forehead or jaw
  • Runny or stuffy nose that lasts longer than a week
  • Worsening headache
  • Bad Breath
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Thick yellow or green mucus draining from nose or back of your throat

Some of the symptoms are noticeably different, which is great if some of them are more prominent than the others. However, they also share 6-7 symptoms so it’s very difficult to pinpoint exactly what you have because they could go either way.

Different at-home remedies could also be a factor in determining what you have going on in your system.

A cold is a virus, so you can only take things to target certain symptoms; antibiotics do nothing. By singling out your symptoms you might notice a change or a lack of a change.Try nasal drips for a clogged or a runny nose, use Vick’s Vapor Rub under your nose or chest to see if it helps, a warm compress on your face for congestion, and taking cold and flu medicine.

If you do not notice any changes, and your “cold” has lasted more than 10 days, that’s when you should go to your doctor or to a walk-in clinic. That should be an indicator it could be a sinus infection, where the only way to treat it is through antibiotics.

Obviously, if the symptoms haven’t been cleared for a few days after you started trying these remedies, I would go to the doctors a lot earlier to see what they say. Medical professionals obviously know what’s best and sometimes the symptoms can be unbearable.

The price for antibiotics might be enough to give you a heart attack at times, and the wait could be so long it’s as if you’re going to catch something else because you’ve seen so many different people come in. But when it comes to our health, we need to take it seriously.

Originally written by Brittany Christopoulos on Unwritten.