Colds and sinus infections are both caused by viruses, but they are very different in terms of their severity and contagiousness. If you’re experiencing some kind of respiratory discomfort, it’s important to figure out whether it’s a cold or a sinus infection so that you can get the right treatment. Here is what you need to know about the differences between these two conditions.
The Symptoms Of A Cold VS. Sinus Infection
Colds typically cause mild symptoms that include a runny nose, coughing, sneezing, congestion, a sore throat, and fatigue. It is also very common for people with colds to experience low-grade fevers (less than 100 degrees). On the other hand, sinus infections typically cause more severe symptoms such as facial pressure or pain around the eyes and cheeks; nasal stuffiness; discolored nasal discharge (greenish or yellow); fever over 100 degrees; headaches; bad breath; and fatigue. It is also possible for people with sinus infections to experience cold-like symptoms.
Contagiousness Of Colds & Sinus Infections
Colds are highly contagious because they are caused by viruses that can spread through contact with mucous membranes (e.g., eyes and nose) as well as air droplets from coughing or sneezing. As such, it is important to practice good hygiene if you have a cold in order to prevent its spread. On the other hand, sinus infections are not considered contagious because they are usually caused by bacteria and not viruses. However, it is still possible for someone with a bacterial infection to spread it if they don't practice good hygiene (e.g., regularly washing their hands).
Knowing the difference between a cold and sinus infection can help you determine how long your illness will last — typically 7–10 days for a cold versus 10–14 days for an acute bacterial sinus infection — as well as how likely it is to be transmitted to others. That said, regardless of whether you have a cold or sinus infection, practicing good hygiene such as regularly washing your hands will help reduce its spread among your family members and colleagues alike!
Northeast Missouri Health Council, Partners for a lifetime of health
Medical, Dental, and Behavioral Clinics in Kirksville, Missouri, Macon, Missouri, Milan, Missouri, and Kahoka, Missouri. Visit our website to find the nearest clinic to you. www.nemohealthcouncil.com