Is it a Head Cold or a Sinus Infection?

Is it a Head Cold or a Sinus Infection?

It is not that difficult to identify whether it is a head cold or sinus infection. This article helps you detect if it is a head cold or a sinus infection when you have a running nose. Take a look.
HealthHearty Staff
Many people confuse head cold with sinus infection and take the wrong treatment or worry unnecessarily. Head cold is not that serious and generally a person feels better within a few days with simple home remedies. On the other hand, sinus is not very serious either if treated as soon as possible. Sinus infection occurs when sinuses get blocked and filled with fluids, where bacteria grows and thereby cause the infection. Whereas, common head cold occurs due to bacteria or viral infection, which subsides on its own in a few days. The reason why it is difficult to identify the difference between head cold and sinus infection is that their symptoms are more or less the same. But there are some peculiar symptoms associated with both these illnesses that can help you distinguish between the two. To know about them, read further.

Head Cold Vs. Sinus Infection

The common symptoms of head cold and sinus infection include, nasal discharge, post nasal drip, chronic cold, nasal congestion, low-grade fever, a run down feeling, and sore throat, etc. But these symptoms are manifested differently in both the diseases. Given below are some of the factors that you must observe to determine the disease you are actually suffering from.

Nasal Discharge: In case of head cold, the nasal discharge is generally clear and watery. In some cases it may be thick and whitish. But in case of sinus infection, the nasal discharge is thick in consistency and is greenish or yellow in color. In some cases it can also be associated with foul smell.

Headache and Facial Pain: A person suffering from head cold may or may not suffer from headache or facial pain but many people suffering from sinus infection complain of headache, especially, in the forehead area, with severe run down feeling. They also experience facial pain including pressure around the nose and eyes which spreads to the entire face gradually. Some people also experience pain behind the eyes and cheeks or rarely in the upper teeth as well.

Fever or Cough: Now this is a little complicated phenomenon. In most cases, head cold sufferers also suffer from fever and cough. It is generally more prominent in children and people with weak immune system. Whereas, sinus sufferers may or may not experience fever and cough. If there is no apparent cause for the cough and fever then most of the time cough and fever is not experienced by sinus patients.

Duration of Symptoms: The duration of the cold can also help you identify whether it is a head cold or sinus. The head cold generally does not last more than a week. It develops slowly for around one to two days, irritates you for another two days and by the fifth or sixth day the person starts feeling better. But sinus generally last for around two to three weeks depending on the severity of infection. So if the cold persists after a week even after trying out home remedies or over-the-counter drugs then you know what it is.

These were some of the factors that would help you identify whether you are suffering from usual head cold or sinus infection. But it is advisable to consult your doctor before concluding anything on your own. Another reason why you should take the opinion of an expert is because, head cold or common cold can gradually lead to sinus infection. In rare cases, it is possible that a cold can cause swelling to the sinus which further prevents the outflow of the mucus. This trapped mucus can get infected with bacteria and lead to sinus infection. Hence it is essential to consult your doctor if the cold persists after a week of its occurrence. And if you are diagnosed to be suffering from sinus infection, the doctors will prescribe you with apt treatment depending on the severity of the infection. On the other hand, home remedies for head cold can help you ease the symptoms within couple of days.

So the next time you suffer from cold you know how to differentiate between the head cold and sinus infection without worrying unnecessarily.