A cold can seem to drag on forever, each day bringing a new dose of misery with a congested nose, headache, and more. But how do you tell when your head cold has morphed into a sinus infection? And what do you do to treat it?
Cold Vs. Sinus Infection
Colds and sinus infections (sinusitis) share a number of symptoms, including coughing, sneezing, fatigue, a sore throat and a runny or stuffy nose. Colds, however, generally run their course in about 10 days. If you've been struggling through those symptoms for that length of time, and they aren't obviously getting better, it's almost a sure bet that you've developed a full blown sinus infection.
Other signs that your cold is turning into a sinus infection include:
Treating A Sinus Infection
A cold is a virus, and you can't treat a virus with an antibiotic; you just treat the symptoms and wait it out. Sinus infections, however, have to be treated with antibiotics. If you don't, the bacteria can get a stubborn hold on your sinus cavities and the condition can become chronic, beating down your immune system and going on for months (or longer).
That means you need to see a doctor, quickly.
Doctor, Hospital, Or Urgent Care Center
Deciding where to go for treatment can be a challenge. If your fever spikes, or your headache becomes suddenly unbearable, you should seek immediate care, to keep the condition from getting worse. Even a short delay in treatment can allow the bacteria to grow out of control and make the infection harder to treat.
You may not be able to get immediate care from your regular doctor for a number of reasons: the doctor may not have any open appointments for several days, or your symptoms might worsen early on a Saturday morning when your doctor's office is closed.
The emergency room of your local hospital is always open, but the average cost of an ER visit for sinusitis is over $600. Fortunately, while sinus infections do require immediate care, they fall short of an actual emergency and are fairly simple to treat.
Your best option is to seek treatment at an urgent care center. Most have evening and weekend hours, and are actually designed to handle simple problems like sinus infections, where the condition needs immediate attention but isn't complicated or life-threatening. Plus, the typical cost of treatment for sinusitis is only $112.
If you suspect that your cold has turned into a sinus infection, don't delay treatment! Waiting too long can make it harder for an antibiotic to clear up the bacteria and keep the condition from evolving into a chronic problem. Keep in mind that even waiting a day can prolong your misery and make the infection worse. If you can't get into your doctor's office, an urgent care clinic like Harrison Medical Center can easily meet your needs.
As an adult in my 50s, I find that my body isn't as strong as it used to be. But I don't let that stop me from enjoying life! In fact, I make every effort to get the treatments I need from my doctor to improve my health. I know that I'm not a senior yet, but I do all I can to prevent the health problems that affect that age group. Because of this, I put together a health blog for people over age 50. My blog isn't a review of what you can easily find on the Internet. It's a plethora of unique information designed to help you find the services you need fast. What my blog doesn't do is tell you what to do for your health. Instead, it offers guidance and options. Please, enjoy the blog and happy reading.