Between the cold weather, time spent indoors with the heaters running and the stress of the pandemic, this winter nobody is feeling their best. But when you start showing symptoms such as cough, congestion and fever, you know you’re coming down with something. It’s important to figure out whether it’s something benign like a sinus infection or serious like COVID-19 in order to treat your symptoms and keep others safe. Below is a guide to help you tell the difference.
Symptoms of a Sinus Infection
A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, describes inflammation in the nasal and sinus cavities. Sinus infections are commonly caused by viruses, like the common cold, but sometimes swelling in the sinuses can trap bacteria, causing a bacterial sinus infection. This type of infection oftentimes needs antibiotics in order to clear up.
Sinus infections typically last less than four weeks, though chronic cases may persist 12 weeks or longer. Possible symptoms include:
- Nasal discharge
- Facial pain or pressure
- Bad breath
- Pressure in the ears
- Hearing loss
Symptoms of COVID-19
We’ve seen new COVID-19 symptoms added to the CDC’s growing list as doctors and researchers learn more about the virus. Most commonly reported symptoms include:
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of taste and smell
- Body aches
Symptoms range widely from mild to severe and may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure.
How to Tell the Difference
If you have a sinus infection, your symptoms will most likely be centered around the upper respiratory tract and be accompanied by the telltale sign of facial pain and/or pressure. Conversely, with COVID-19, you’re more likely to experience full body symptoms like aching muscles, stomach problems and shortness of breath.
Keep in mind, however, that some of the symptoms are very similar, and it’s also possible to have both a sinus infection and COVID-19 at the same time. As such, it’s important to talk to your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms, especially if you’ve recently flown in or out of The Albany International Airport.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the experts at Albany ENT & Allergy Services today.
Learn More About Sinus Health