Changing seasons and outside elements can affect the human body in various ways. One morning, you may wake up and feel terrible. Could it be a sinus infection or influenza (the flu)? There are differences between the two that help people know what is affecting them. Taking note of these symptoms will enable you to take care of yourself properly.
The same thing does not cause the flu and sinus infections. Several influenza viruses (grouped as type A, B, or C) cause the flu. The type of virus dictates how sick someone will get. Type B influenza viruses make people sick, while Type A makes people and animals ill. Type C causes minor symptoms, which can relate to the effects of a sinus infection.
While a virus can also cause sinus infections, it is not the same strain as any influenza type. Bacteria and fungus can lead to a sinus infection. Chronic infections can result from problems with the structure of the sinuses or nasal cavity. Ongoing inflammation that appeared from allergies or the common cold may also lead to chronic issues.
Fever and body aches are not unusual for people who have the flu. Your body temperature can reach 100 degrees or higher. Feeling very exhausted and completely wiped out for the whole day is not uncommon either. In addition to those symptoms, you may have to deal with coughing, a sore throat, and nasal congestion.
One key difference with the flu is how fast symptoms appear. When someone has the flu, they will feel normal one minute, then feel extremely tired the next. The need to lie down is significant.
Pain in the sinus areas is a big indicator of a sinus infection. Inflammation and swelling cause your sinuses to ache with dull pressure. You will likely feel pain in your head, between your eyes, or your jaw.
Due to your inflamed sinuses, you will have more difficulty breathing through your nostrils. Your sense of taste and smell will also not be the same due to inflammation and congestion. After days of recuperating, you will feel the need to blow your nose more due to nasal discharge. It can be cloudy, green, or yellow.
Discharge can also pass down your throat as the mucus loosens. You may feel a tickle or an itch as it drains. It is called postnasal drip and may cause you to cough more.
Along with throat irritation, coughing, and discharge, a sore throat and hoarse voice can occur. This is due to postnasal drip, which may start as just a ticklish feeling, but it can become worse. Do not let the mucus drip and remain in your body for a long time. You can worsen the condition of your throat and voice.
It is highly recommended to see a doctor if your symptoms do not improve. The doctor can offer antiviral medicine to reduce symptoms and decrease the length of the infection. But, the best way to heal is by resting and limiting contact with other people. The more strain you put your body through, the worse your condition can become.
Treating a sinus infection depends on a combination of things such as the cause of the infection, its duration, and the severity. Antibiotics are something you can take advantage of if you have bacterial sinusitis. But, if the infection is viral, it is better to rest and let your body slowly return to normal.
Flu shots are the best way to protect your body from the flu. They reduce your risk of contracting it and possibly winding up in the hospital. Considering that COVID-19 is still a huge risk factor, getting the flu shot is more important now than ever before.
Washing your hands and avoiding things that can irritate your sinuses are very beneficial to avoiding sinus infections. There is more bacteria and other germs spreading around especially during the colder months. If you suspect that an allergic reaction to something may be causing you chronic sinusitis, you should see a doctor to treat your condition.
Need a flu vaccine? Schedule an appointment at your local Passport Health by calling or schedule online now.
Written for Passport Health by Shelbi Jackson. Shelbi is a freelance writer from Illinois. She enjoys writing about various topics from health care to music and book reviews. In her free time, you can find her at a live event, taking a stroll outside, or playing with the family dogs.