Do you have a sinus infection or a virus?

Sinus infections signs and symptoms

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - If you find yourself coughing, sniffling, and sneezing, you might think you have a sinus infection.

However, doctors said there are some differences between that and a virus.

“A true sinus infection will show up with single site pain, so you might have isolated pain in one cheek. Oftentimes you’ll have some fever and some general malaise,” said Dr. Jessica Grayson, UAB Department of Otolaryngology. “Things like an upper respiratory infection will actually affect both sides of the nose. So nasal congestion, runny nose, even some post-nasal drip. Where as allergies will have those symptoms but you’ll have itchy watery eyes, potentially itchy skin, sneezing.”

Your symptoms many times help doctors determine your treatment.

For something viral it’s best to use over the counter medicines and let it run it’s course.

When there is a true sinus infection, involving bacteria, you usually need a prescription.

“That’s when you’ve got to have an antibiotic,” said Grayson.

So when does it go from the common cold to seeing a doctor?

Grayson says it differs for different age groups. For adults it involves the symptoms worsening or not going away.

“If it goes beyond ten days. If you start having fever. If you do that thing where you get better but, then get suddenly worse, that is a time to go see your physician and be checked out.”

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