The symptoms of a sinus infection are quite unpleasant. The difference between a common cold and a sinus infection is location and the infectious agent. A common cold is always caused by a virus most commonly the rhinovirus. It infects the upper respiratory tract lining including the nasal passages which result in rhinorrhea (runny nose) of clear thin fluid. Cough can be a symptom as the nasal fluid frequently drips down to the back of the throat and irritates the airway causing the cough reflex. A sinus infection can have many of the same symptoms because it almost always is preceded by an upper respiratory tract infection and the two are often going on at the same time. In addition, facial pain
(worse with pressing on the face), headache
, fever, and thick green nasal discharge is also seen. If a sinus infection has been present for greater than a week, they usually need treated with antibiotics. Sinus infections are challenging to prevent. One strategy to prevent a sinus infection is to keep the congested fluids moving out. Frequently blowing your nose and the judicious use of decongestants may help out while the cold is clearing. Before taking any decongestant or over-the-counter medicine for a sinus infection, make sure to speak to your doctor
first. There are conditions in which these medicines may do a lot more harm than good. Good luck.