During cold and flu season it can become hard to tell one respiratory infection from the next. And with many illnesses causing obstruction of the sinuses, a sinus infection (sinusitis) is a common secondary or follow up to other infections.

But differentiating between a sinus infection and some other illness causing a sinus infection becomes important in how you take care of yourself. A mild sinus infection may not interfere with work and errands, but if it’s caused by the beginnings of bronchitis or the flu, the sooner you get to bed the sooner the illness will be over.

Further, a sinus rinse can help relieve any unpleasant nasal symptoms, whether you need help with a runny nose from a cold or you have congestion keeping you from sleeping. But if you have more than what is a common sinus infection, you may need to do more to take care of yourself.

So, What Is A Sinus Infection?

The primary symptom of a sinus infection is pain or pressure in the sinuses, the areas up the nose and along the cheek bones and under the eyebrows. A sinus infection is often accompanied by discolored nasal mucus, fever, toothache (the sinuses are above the upper teeth), and sore throat (if the congestion isn’t cleared out by a sinus rinse, it can drip into and irritate the throat).

What Is A Sinus Infection Compared To Cold, Flu, Pneumonia, And Bronchitis?

Colds don’t necessary cause the sinus pressure and congestion that sinus infections do: they’re more likely to cause runny mucus, and mild fatigue throughout the body.

Influenza will cause fever and chills, headache, fatigue, and congestion similar to sinus infection.

Both cold and flu are caused by specific families of viruses.

Bronchitis is infection of the bronchial tubes in the lungs, and is responsible for that terrible, chest-aching cough that is its hallmark symptoms.

Pneumonia is inflammation or infection of the air sacs in the lungs, and is more likely to have a mucus filled cough.

Bronchitis and pneumonia can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi, and are defined by their location rather than the type of pathogen. Consequently, a sinus infection can accompany either, and all can be secondary infections to diseases like flu.

Questions about the differences? Share your thoughts in the comments:


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