How A Sinus Infection Differs From The Common Cold
Jan 28, 2023 By Madison Evans

Nasal congestion, a runny nose, and excessive sneezing are all symptoms often associated with sinus infections and the common cold, two more frequent illnesses of the upper respiratory tract. However, the appropriate diagnosis and treatment of each illness require understanding the distinctions between them. Sinusitis, often known as a sinus infection, is an inflammation of the sinuses brought on by a bacterial or viral infection. The side effects are pressure or soreness in the face, a stuffy nose, a diminished sense of smell or taste, a drowsy disposition, and a pounding head. By contrast, the common cold is a viral infection of the nose and throat. It manifests itself clinically as a runny nose, a scratchy throat, a cough, a mild fever, and a general feeling of malaise. When trying to cure a sinus infection, it's important first to evaluate whether the condition is caused by a cold.


Having a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and congestion in the nose are all symptoms that can be brought on by a cold or an infection of the sinuses. Sinus infections can also bring on a fever. On the other hand, indications and symptoms are more distinctively associated with a certain illness or condition than others.

Symptoms of a sinus infection include:

  • Facial pain or pressure, especially around the eyes and cheeks
  • Thick, discolored nasal discharge
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

Symptoms of a cold include:

  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Low-grade fever
  • Body aches


After the initial symptoms of a sinus infection have subsided, the illness may linger for up to four weeks in some people. This is significantly longer than the typical course of a cold, which typically lasts between seven and ten days. If the symptoms have been present for more than ten days, the individual is more likely to have an infection in their sinuses.


A viral infection, more specifically, an infection brought on by a rhinovirus, causes most people to become unwell with what is known as the common cold. It has been shown that infections in the sinuses can have a range of different causes. These reasons can include bacterial infections as well as viral infections. In contrast to viral infections, bacterial infections are an extremely likely candidate for the role of the primary culprit in the development of sinus infections.


Symptom relief is the primary goal of treatment for a cold, which normally lasts until the virus has run its course. It can relieve nasal congestion and a runny nose by using over-the-counter drugs such as decongestants and antihistamines. In addition, it is essential to obtain plenty of rest and drink a lot of water. Antibiotics are the standard course of treatment for sinus infections when a bacterial infection is suspected to be the underlying cause of the condition. In addition, pain medications, decongestants, and nasal sprays containing saline can be utilized to alleviate the symptoms. If the sinus infection is severe enough, a course of steroid medication or even surgery may be necessary to treat it.


If you routinely wash your hands, avoid direct contact with others who are sick, and keep your hands away from your face, you can reduce your risk of catching a cold or developing a sinus infection. Washing your hands can also help you avoid getting sick in the first place. These are all successful techniques. In addition, preventing sinus infections may require avoiding recognized allergens and pollutants, maintaining a moist environment within the nasal passages, and using decongestants regularly. Maintaining a moist environment in the nasal passages is also useful.


Sinus infections and colds are common upper respiratory tract infections, but they have some key differences. Sinus infections are characterized by facial pain and pressure, thick nasal discharge, and a loss of smell and taste, while a sore throat, cough, and body aches characterize colds. Colds typically last 7 to 10 days, while sinus infections can last up to four weeks. Sinus infections are usually caused by bacterial infections, while viral infections cause colds. Treatment for a cold typically relieves symptoms, while sinus infections are usually treated with antibiotics. Both colds and sinus infections can be prevented by washing your hands frequently, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and avoiding touching your face.

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