Is it a sinus infection or a common cold? Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish the difference. Infection or inflammation of the sinuses also known as sinusitis affects millions of people every year and in many instances causes serious discomfort or pain. The symptoms of sinus infections actually depend upon which of the four sinuses are affected and whether or not the sinus infection is acute or chronic.
Acute sinusitis normally lasts eight weeks or less or occurs no more than three times per year with an average episode lasting less than ten days. Chronic sinusitis on the other hand normally lasts longer than eight weeks or occurs more than four times per year with symptoms usually lasting longer than twenty days.
There are many symptoms of acute sinus infection including nasal discharge, post nasal drip whereby mucus drips down the throat behind the nose, facial pain or pressure in the area of the affected sinus cavities, fever and headaches.
Symptoms of chronic sinus infection include chronic soar throat, chronic nasal discharge, bad breath, prolonged facial pain, discomfort below the eyes or across the bridge of the nose, toothaches and low-grade headaches.
It is often difficult to determine whether or not you have a common cold or a sinus infection. For example, a stuffy nose could be a symptom of a sinus infection or a common cold.
Your doctor can diagnose sinusitis using an assortment of methods including listening to your symptoms, doing a physical examination, taking X-rays, and if necessary, an MRI or CT scan (magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography).