First What Is A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection, a.k.a. sinusitis, happens when fluid builds up in your sinuses, the air-filled pockets in your face, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . That allows germs to grow. Viruses cause most sinus infections, but bacteria can cause some sinus infections, the CDC says.
There are several things that can raise your risk of getting a sinus infection, but the CDC specifically lists these:
- A previous cold
- Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke
- Structural problems within the sinuses, like growths on the lining of the nose or sinuses
- A weak immune system or taking drugs that weaken the immune system
How Is A Sinus Infection Treated
Bacterial sinus infections are usually treated with penicillin-based medications, but people with a penicillin allergy can take alternative antibiotics like doxycycline or azithromycin. Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or Tylenol, nasal steroids like Flonase and oral decongestants like Sudafed can also be used. If you experience recurring sinus infections, it may be time to see an ear, nose and throat specialist or allergist.
Diagnosis For Bronchitis And Covid
Only a licensed healthcare professional can diagnose whether you have COVID-19 or bronchitis.
To diagnose acute bronchitis, your doctor will listen to your symptoms and conduct a physical exam.
There are no specific tests for bronchitis, but your doctor may do blood tests to eliminate other possible causes of your symptoms. Your doctor may also order a chest x-ray if you have a fever. This is to rule out pneumonia.
COVID-19 is diagnosed with a viral test.
The COVID-19 test is completed with a swab that is placed deep inside your nose or throat. The swab is then tested to see if the virus that causes COVID-19 is present.
A viral test can’t tell you if you were previously infected. Even if you test negative, you can still get infected after the test.
If you start to feel sick after you are tested, you may need to be tested again.
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/7how Covid Symptoms Appear
The crucial thing to look for is how the symptoms appear. As per studies, symptoms of COVID-19 generally appear in a fixed pattern. The first symptom of COVID-19 is mostly fever, followed by cough and muscle pain, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms start developing instantly and get worse with time.
If your condition becomes worse after a cold and flu, you may have a sinus infection. Sinus infection may also happen after exposure to allergens or irritants, such as pollen, pet dander, and cigarette smoke.
A sinus infection usually clears up on its own in two to three weeks, while COVID precautionary measures need to be taken for about 15 days. In the case of a mild infection, the person starts feeling better in two weeks. If the infection is severe, the person may be admitted to the hospital and take months to recover.
Similarities Between Allergy Sinus And Covid
The similarities between symptoms of allergies, sinusitis, and COVID-19 can easily cause concern, especially if a patient is experiencing just one or two symptoms on the list of overlap. Certain links do exist between symptoms, but slight nuances between the type and likelihood of symptoms can help determine which cause is most likely.
Symptoms that can appear with allergies, sinus issues, or coronavirus include:
- shortness of breath
- dry cough
If a person is only experiencing symptoms in the list above, it can be tougher to determine what is causing them. Patients should consider the activities taking place before the start of their symptoms and whether anything worsened the symptoms, such as pollen, pets, sleeping, or physical activity. If allergies are suspected as the cause, try taking allergy medications such as antihistamines, to see whether this relieves the symptoms.
Keep in mind that allergies or sinus issues and COVID-19 can exist at the same time. You may still want to see a doctor and be tested for coronavirus if you are experiencing any of the symptoms that indicate a virus is likely, such as fever combined with cough, or if your symptoms are more severe than your normal allergy symptoms.
If the source of symptoms is still unclear, or if you may have been exposed to the virus, it is recommended to get tested for COVID-19.
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What Are Bronchitis And Covid
It’s important to know the difference between these two illnesses.
Bronchitis happens when the bronchial tubes that carry oxygen to your lungs become inflamed and irritated. These irritated airways then produce excess mucus and cause you to cough. Acute bronchitis typically will get better on its own. It can develop into pneumonia when not properly cared for.
COVID-19 is a new type of virus that has caused a global pandemic.
There are many different types of coronaviruses. Some cause mild illnesses such as colds. Some cause more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome .
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is spread from person to person. Symptoms usually appear within two weeks of exposure. You can spread COVID-19 to others even if you don’t have any symptoms yourself.
Loss Of Taste Or Smell
While allergies and sinus infections often cause congestion, which can affect taste or smell, the COVID-19 virus has been strongly associated with patients experiencing symptoms of total loss or sudden change in smell or taste. This symptom has been experienced even by those who had no other obvious symptoms.
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The Signs You Have The Delta Variant Are Different Than Original Covid
One expert says if symptoms are mild, you could confuse your illness for allergies.
Story at a glance:
- Cough, fever, and shortness of breath are common COVID-19 symptoms.
- Sinus congestion, runny nose and sore throat are symptoms of becoming infected with the delta variant.
- Sneezing more than usual is a symptom of having the delta variant.
The delta variant of COVID-19 can have symptoms that are more mild and typically not associated with the virus that some may mistake the illness as allergies or another common sickness.
Louisiana State Health Officer Joe Kanter said the delta variant of COVID-19 still has its usual symptoms like cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
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However, Kanter is seeing many patients present with symptoms that appear to be run-of-the-mill illnesses, like sinus congestion, runny nose and sore throat. These symptoms could be signs that patients have the delta variant, he told Audacy.
You can present with relatively mild symptoms that you can easily confuse for allergies or something that you picked up from your kid who is in daycare, all of those things, said Kanter. If you have any symptoms, no matter how mild, even if it is a sore throat, even if it is a runny nose, even if it is sinus congestion, go get yourself tested and limit your contact with other people until you do so.
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How Do You Treat Allergies
For mild symptoms or symptoms that you experience irregularly, you can use an antihistamine like Claritin, Zyrtec or Allegra. Stay away from antihistamines that cause drowsiness, such as Benadryl. An antihistamine nasal spray like azelastine or a steroid nasal spray like Flonase or Nasacort can also be helpful for relieving congestion, runny nose, and sneezing.
Sinus flushes, also called nasal saline irrigation, can also be used to cleanse the nasal passages and relieve the pressure of congestion. Some brands that doctors recommend include the neti pot or NeilMed Sinus Rinse.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nasal irrigation systems can cause sinus infections when not used properly or cleaned well after use. Only rinse with distilled, sterile or previously boiled water and follow the devices instructions carefully.
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Sinus Congestion Vs Sinus Infection
Like a mystical eastern religion, in the schnoz, everything is flow. And when this flow is interrupted, problems develop. Our sinuses drain into our nose through small holes called ostia, the Latin word for small hole.
When the skin lining the nose and sinuses gets swollen most commonly due to a viral infection, less often due to allergies those holes plug up and the sinuses cannot drain. Thats sinus congestion, a deep pressure and tightness. You know it when you feel it.
The vast majority of cases of rhinosinusitis are triggered by a cold virus, according to the Infectious Disease Society of Americas clinical practice guideline. That virus cripples the mucus-making and cilia-sweeping cells. In addition, the firefight between our immune system and the invader causes the tissue to swell, and battlefield debris piles up because it cannot be removed.
Typically, a viral infection and the congestion it brings will clear up in seven to 10 days. An antibiotic cannot kill a cold virus, so sufferers just have to wait it out with analgesics, decongestants, hot tea whatever works for them.
Cold Symptoms And Treatment
The cold virus is also spread through droplets caused by coughing or sneezing. The main symptoms of a cold are stuffy nose, sneezing, and a mild cough. The difference between having a cold, COVID, or the flu is whether or not you have a fever. You will not typically get a fever when you have the common cold but you will get one if you have the flu or COVID. There is no cure for the common cold which means that cold treatment is based on relieving symptoms until your body fights the cold on its own.
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What’s The Difference Between The Flu Covid
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than the flu, and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms, and people can be contagious for longer.
Add colds and breakthrough infections, which occur in patients who have had the coronavirus vaccination and still get sick with the virus, to the difficulty of making a diagnosis.
Symptoms of breakthrough infections can include significant sinus and nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat and low-grade fever, Sullivan said. Symptoms of the common cold include runny nose, sore throat, coughing and congestion.
Dr. Diane George, a family medicine physician and chief medical officer for primary care for the Henry Ford Medical Group, said patients may be tempted to think they have a cold when they actually have a mild case of COVID-19, and decide to blow off getting tested, something she does not recommend.
“It’s really about knowing, so you can protect other people, who might be at more severe risk for COVID. You don’t want to spread it to people who could get seriously sick,” George said. “For your own sake, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with in case your symptoms get worse.”
Symptoms Unique To Covid
While some symptoms overlap, COVID-19 has a few unique symptoms.
One might experience skin rashes that may occur on your finger and toes, including swelling and discoloration.
In some older people, confusion or delirium may be their only COVID-19 symptom. Some people with COVID-19 may also lose their sense of smell and taste.
Thick nasal discharge and significant sinus and facial pain are less common with COVID-19, but can occur.
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Is It A Cold Covid
One of the challenging things about recognizing COVID-19 and other illnesses is that they can share some of the same symptoms. Many articles have been written comparing the symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza, as these two illnesses have perhaps the most in common. But many symptoms of COVID-19 also resemble those of a cold or sinus infection . Learn to tell the difference and how to get the right treatment for your illness.
Treatment For Sinusitis From A Gp
If you have sinusitis, a GP may be able to recommend other medicines to help with your symptoms, such as:
- steroid nasal sprays or drops to reduce the swelling in your sinuses
- antihistamines if an allergy is causing your symptoms
- antibiotics if a bacterial infection is causing your symptoms and you’re very unwell or at risk of complications
You might need to take steroid nasal sprays or drops for a few months. They sometimes cause irritation, sore throats or nosebleeds.
A GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist if, for example, you:
- still have sinusitis after 3 months of treatment
- keep getting sinusitis
- only have symptoms on 1 side of your face
They may also recommend surgery in some cases.
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How Long Do Symptoms Last
Typically, a sinus infection clears up within 2 to 3 weeks. COVID-19 lasts for about a week or two depending on its severity and your overall health.
A 2020 study surveyed 270 outpatients with COVID-19. Among them, 175 people reported returning to their usual level of health about 7 days after a positive COVID-19 test.
Some symptoms like cough and loss of smell or taste may linger temporarily after COVID-19. Some people may experience long-haul COVID-19, a group of symptoms that persist in the weeks and months following an infection.
So What’s The Difference Between Covid
It can be tough, says Eric H. Holbrook, M.D., director of rhinology at Mass Eye and Ear. Because there are shared symptoms for sinus infections and COVID-19 infections, diagnosing one from the other can be difficult for both the patient and physician, he says. The most prominent symptoms of a sinus infection also includes nasal obstruction or congestion, nasal drainage, and diminished sense of smell.
One thing that might be helpful, though, is to gauge your pain. A sinus infection often gives you a lot of pain thats up in your cheeks and into your forehead, says William Schaffner, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Its usually above the neck. But, in some cases, Dr. Holbrook says, drainage from the nose down the back of the throat can cause a cough in some patients.
Basically, its better to be safe than sorry. New onset of these symptoms should be suspicious for COVID-19, and patients should isolate themselves until they contact their primary care for additional instructions, Dr. Holbrook says. Dr. Schaffner stresses that you should call your doctors officedont go to the waiting room. If you have COVID-19, you can infect others, he points out.
But, Dr. DallaPiazza says, “given the overlap in symptoms, the only way to determine the cause with confidence is to perform testing for COVID-19 as well as other viruses.”
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How You Can Tell The Difference Between Allergies Cold Flu And Covid
Eyes watering? Runny nose? Feel like your head is locked in an ever-tighter vice?
Sounds like the start of seasonal allergies, maybe a cold or flu . . . but not COVID-19.
To keep anxiety levels down, and reduce the crush on local healthcare during the coronavirus pandemic, its important to know the difference between seasonal allergies or other illness and the more serious COVID-19.
This novel coronavirus causes a respiratory illness manifested by fever, cough and difficulty breathing, said Dr. Virginia Bieluch, the chief of infectious diseases at The Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain.
Pay particular attention to that combination of three symptoms. Less frequently, says the World Health Organization, a COVID-19 infection can produce symptoms similar to the flu like aches and pains, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion or diarrhea.
Allergies, unlike coronavirus, do not cause a fever and seldom shortness of breath. Yet the sneezing, runny nose, congestion and itchy, watery eyes are more than an inconvenience. Sometimes allergy sufferers dont know whether theyre suffering from seasonal allergies, a nasty cold or even asthma that might require a doctors attention.
A cold usually reveals itself gradually. The flu can hit like an anvil.
Flu symptoms will permeate the entire body, says Dr. Bieluch.
Sinus Infection Vs Covid
So, youre feeling under the weather. Is it a run-of-the-mill sinus infection, or could it be something worse? Its very common for people to question whats causing their symptoms, and even more so since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. At PhysicianOne Urgent Care, we understand our patients concerns, and with that in mind, weve put together some tips on how to tell the difference between a sinus infection and COVID-19.
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When An Antibiotic Is The Right Choice
But in 0.5 to 2 percent of those cases, the congestion and lack of healthy flow allows a secondary bacterial infection to take hold. As is the case with all of our skin, our nasal and sinus passages are loaded with normal, healthy bacteria that outcompete the bad bacteria. But for complex microbiological reasons, the virus infection gives these unfriendly pathogenic bacteria the upper hand.
Given these facts, the IDSA guidelines recommend antibiotics under any of three scenarios:
- symptoms that persist for 10 days or longer, or
- the onset of high fever , severe facial pain and pus from the nose for three to four consecutive days at the beginning of the infection, or
- whats referred to as a double sickening, where an infection improved for the first five to six days, but then suddenly became severe
Many patients enjoy describing the color of their mucus, so physicians will often just sit quietly and listen, even though they know theres no clinical usefulness to the fact that a patient used a paint sampler to peg his mucus color as somewhere between Limited Lime and Canary Yellow. Also, there is no benefit to blowing ones nose so hard that ones eyeballs are actually jettisoned from the eye socket for a period, like in an animated Tim Burton movie.