Many people who experience infection of the upper respiratory tract wonder whether they are suffering only from common cold or the infection has led to even more serious inflammation of the sinuses and the onset of sinusitis. Both of these actually feature with low-grade fever and post nasal drip. They also feature with sore throat. So how to differentiate these two conditions? Even though there are similarities between these two conditions there are also differences and a well experienced doctor is highly capable of differentiating common cold from sinus infection.
Symptoms of Common Cold
In patients suffering from common cold the most commons symptoms and signs include exhaustion, nasal congestion, runny nose with clear discharge, sneezing, sore throat, post nasal drip. Fever is not a characteristic of the disease in adults but is frequently occurs in children. Common cold also causes headache and may be accompanied by cough. The symptoms last for approximately 3 to 7 days and they either withdraw spontaneously or thanks to the treatment. Common cold is caused by viruses and the symptoms gradually develop within a day or two, they peak during the third and the fourth day of the disease and the improvement is obvious between the fifth and the seventh day of the infection.
Symptoms of Sinus Infection
Sinus infection or sinusitis is actually the inflammation of the mucous membrane of the sinuses. The very condition may result from common cold or it is associated with other respiratory infections caused by different infective agents. Furthermore, sinusitis may be a consequence of allergies.
The symptoms and signs of sinusitis vary depending of which sinus has been affected. Generally sinusitis features with nasal congestion, post nasal drip, green or yellow nasal discharge, pressure inside the affected sinus, headache, pain in the upper teeth (in case of maxillary sinusitis). People suffering from sinusitis complain about fatigue, difficulties while breathing through the nose and the decreased sense of smell.
Sinusitis can be acute and chronic. The condition can be also recurrent. But each of these types generally last longer than 7 days. What is more, sinusitis can be and usually is caused by bacteria which is not the case of common cold.
Treatment for Common Cold and Sinus Infection
Common cold is treated with plenty of bed rest, lost of fluids and medications such as nasal decongestants, pain relievers and cough medications.
Sinusitis requires much more complex treatment. Apart form rest and intake of plenty of fluids acute sinusitis is treated with decongestants, antihistamines and antibiotics.