Is that sniffle more than it seems?
Dr David Chin, ENT surgeon at Parkway East Hospital, explains the differences between the common cold and a sinus infection.
The symptoms do cross over
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
But here's how they differ:
|• Symptoms only last a few days||• Usually last more than 10 days without improving|
|• Symptoms build, peak and disappear||• Cause pain and pressure in the face|
|• Tend to produce clear or light-coloured mucus||• Tend to produce thick yellow or green mucus|
|• Usually don't cause a fever||• Often cause a fever|
|• Often have other symptoms like fever, body aches and sore throat|
|• Can lead to sinus infections|
What causes them?
|• The common cold is a virus||• Sinuses are air-filled spaces in your skull|
|• There are more than 200 types||• When your sinuses are inflamed, bacteria breeds|
|• The rhinovirus causes 50% of colds||• This can lead to bacterial sinusitis|
|• Your body's immune response triggers your symptoms||• A cold or allergy can cause a sinus infection|
Preventive measures to take
- Avoid triggers like dust and pollen where possible
- Wash and sanitise your hands regularly
- Avoid touching your face
- Quit smoking
Treating a cold or a sinus infection starts the same
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink extra fluids
- Inhale steam
- Use a nasal rinse
But if you have a fever, or if your symptoms are unmanageable or last longer than a few days, consult a doctor.
Infographic reviewed by Dr David Chin, ENT surgeon at Parkway East Hospital
DerSarkissian, C. (2013, July 30) When A Cold Becomes A Sinus Infection. Retrieved December 7, 2018 from https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/cold-becomes-sinus-infection#2
Martin, L.J. (2018, July 9) What Is Sinusitis? Retrieved December 7 2018 from https://www.webmd.com/allergies/sinusitis-and-sinus-infection#2
Ratini, M (2015, July 1) Is It A Cold Or A Sinus Infection? Retrieved December 7 2018 from https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/cold-sinus-infections#2
Ratini, M (2017, March 22) What Causes Cold Symptoms? Retrieved December 7 2018 from https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/qa/what-causes-cold-symptoms