Is It a Cold or a Sinus Infection?

Sinus Infection Urgent Care Omaha

A cold can make you miserable, with symptoms like runny nose, congestion, sneezing, coughing, etc. How do you know that what you think may be a cold might be something else, like a sinus infection? This summary, based on an article from The Cleveland Clinic, may help discern the difference.

Sinus Infection Symptoms

Sinus infections occur when the sinus lining becomes inflamed, preventing the sinuses from draining. These infections can be caused either by viruses or bacteria. There is no test available to determine cause of a sinus infection, so the provider’s diagnosis will be based on observations such as these:

  1. How long have you had symptoms? Colds usually peak after 3-5 days, with improvement after that. If you have a runny nose, stuffy nose, or sinus pressure that lasts more than 10 days, suspect a sinus infection.
  2. Do you have sinus pressure? If you have persistent facial pain or tenderness, suspect a sinus infection.
  3. What color is your nasal discharge? If you have clear mucous, it’s probably from a cold. If it’s yellow or greenish-colored, suspect a sinus infection.
  4. Do you have continuing bad breath during this time frame? If yes, suspect a sinus infection.

Treatment Is Based on Observations

If the provider feels the problem is bacterial-based, a course of antibiotics can be prescribed to help shorten the duration of the infection. It the cause is believed to be viral-based, antibiotics won’t help you feel better any faster, and can do more harm than good by creating antibiotic resistance. In either instance, rest, hydration, and nasal irrigation can help ease sinus infection symptoms.

Urgent Care Network Omaha

The focus of Urgent Care Network Omaha clinics is to take care of the issues that aren’t extreme, but do need medical help. We treat minor illnesses like the flu, infections, fevers, nausea, etc. Also minor injuries such as sprains, possible broken bones, lacerations, sports injuries, etc. We also provide occupational health services like work comp care, pre-employment physicals, drug screens, etc. More details are available on our services page.