What’s The Difference Between The Cold, Flu, And Sinus Infections?

Posted on October 4, 2018 by in Preventative Care
 | High Lakes Health Care

Chicken soup, lots of rest, and fluids were always mom’s remedies when family members were sick. While these common practices are helpful up to a point, the best remedy is to know why someone is sick, and then seek appropriate treatment.

The Confusion Of Similar Symptoms

The initial symptoms of a cold, the flu, and a sinus infections are similar so it can be hard to tell them apart. Sneezing, a sore throat, headaches, a runny nose and fatigue can make it confusing to diagnose. So, which ailment is it?

The Flu

The flu is a serious condition that can have life-threatening risks.  It is critical to recognize flu symptoms and act quickly, especially with children, senior citizens, and pregnant women.

Influenza is caused by a virus which is contagious and affects the respiratory system. Severe symptoms and complications can lead to death.

One telltale sign of the flu is how quickly and how intense the symptoms present themselves. Within a matter of hours a person can have chills, become seriously fatigued with muscle aches, and develop a sore throat and runny nose. Some patients will suffer from a headache with diarrhea and/or vomiting.

According to the CDC over 230,000 patients have had the flu since October 2017 with over 85 pediatric deaths.

See your physician immediately if you think you or a loved one may have the flu. There are virus medications to relieve the symptoms and shorten the duration.

Common Cold

Both a cold and the flu are respiratory illnesses caused by a similar virus. The most evident difference is the severity of the symptoms and how quickly the symptoms appear. A cold will have milder symptoms than the flu, and it will usually arise over a period of days and not hours.

Sneezing, a stuffy nose, and a sore throat are the most obvious symptoms.

It is less common to have a fever and chills with a cold, and a headache is rare.

Sinus Infections

A sinus infection is an inflammation and infection of the sinus cavities usually caused by a cold or allergies.

It is characterized by pain and pressure around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead. Other distinct symptoms include a green or yellow mucus discharge, while with a cold or flu the mucus is clear. A bacterial sinus infection can last up to two weeks whereas a cold subsides in about 3-4 days.

There are a number of OTC medications to treat a sinus infections, but your physician can prescribe an antibiotic to destroy the bacteria. If not treated, sinusitis can lead to permanent damage to the sinuses.

Best Practices for Treating Ailments

Patients should be aware of the symptoms of these common illnesses, but especially know the warning signs of the flu. Contact High Lakes Health Care at (541) 389-7741 today for further information.

As for chicken soup? It can’t hurt.