When is a cold, more than just a cold? Is it the sniffles or a Sinus Infection?
With winter very much upon us, the cold season is in full flow. Have you felt the tingle at the back of your throat yet, the stuffy feeling in your nose? If not, you can assume it will probably get you at some point over the next few months.
The common cold is literally as..ahem….common as can be at the moment. Coughs and sneezes are very easily transmittable and can pass round family homes, schools, workplaces and other populated areas at a rate of knots. Whilst there is no real cure for a cold, keeping warm, keeping hydrated and fighting off symptoms with painkillers and decongestants, can help us get through it without too much fuss. But when is it more than just a cold? Some conditions present with very similar symptoms to a cold, but can be a chronic condition that may need medical intervention.
A cold will generally last anything between 3-14 days and symptoms can take a few days to appear after the infection with the virus. Colds are, of course, most common in winter, but can happen all year round. A cold will give you a nice batch of varied symptoms including coughing, aches, fatigue, a raised temperature, itchy eyes, a sore throat and a stuffy, blocked nose.
When your nasal passages become infected however, it turns into a sinus infection, called sinusitis, which is harder to get rid of than a cold. Whilst colds don’t usually cause sinus infections per se, they do offer a breeding ground for them.
Look for the following symptoms to help you decide whether you have a cold or an infection:
Sinus pressure behind the eyes and the cheeks
A runny, stuffy nose that lasts more than a week
A worsening headache
Thick yellow or green mucus draining from your nose or down the back of your throat (postnasal drip)
Decreased sense of smell
If you think you have a sinus infection, you may need to see your doctor. Your doctor may even prescribe you a course of antibiotics to help clear the infection. If you find that you are suffering from sinus infections on a regular basis, there are other treatments you can try. A sinus irrigation, for example, can help ease symptoms. There are even surgeries that can be performed to ease the symptoms of chronic (ongoing) sinusitis. One option, called functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) may be recommended. This is a procedure to improve the drainage of mucus from your sinuses and will be undertaken by a specialist under general anaesthetic. Another possibility is balloon sinuplasty, which is a much less invasive operation, requiring less surgical cutting and in some cases being able to be performed under a local anaesthetic whilst you are awake.
At the London ENT we can help with a wide variety of conditions and specialise in finding solutions for chronic sinusitis. Our experienced consultant, Mr Paul Chatrath, will be happy to meet with you to find out how we can help improve your quality of life. Find out more about how we can help cure your sinusitis by calling us today on 01708 763581 or 07969 562855.