Cold & Sinus Infection Treatment in West Hartford, CT

Picture of a man sitting on a couch and touching his nose in pain because he needs sinus infection treatment.

Coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, and a sore throat—just about everyone can recognize signs of the common cold. And like most people, you’ve probably experienced these symptoms firsthand. Colds are usually harmless and go away on their own in short order. However, if your nasal symptoms last longer than a few days, you could be battling something more serious, such as a sinus infection (sinusitis).

On your own, it’s not always easy to tell if you have a sinus infection or the common cold. Your sinuses can become infected and inflamed by either bacteria or a run-of-the-mill cold virus. Although the symptoms can be similar, a bacterial infection may require antibiotic treatment, but a viral infection will not.

To ensure prompt and effective treatment for whatever is ailing you, it’s best to seek medical attention if you have a cold that lingers longer than a week. In West Hartford, Connecticut, you can see an experienced and caring provider at PhysicianOne Urgent Care. We’ll get to the bottom of your illness and help you feel better.

How to Tell the Difference Between Colds & Sinus Infections

Because the common cold can evolve into a sinus infection, it’s not always easy to distinguish the symptoms of these conditions. Still, there are two telltale signs that a sinus infection may be present—these include:

  • Having cold symptoms that worsen or fail to improve after five days
  • Experiencing an intense return of cold symptoms after feeling better for a few days

Additionally, a sinus infection typically causes thick, discolored mucus that may appear shades of green or yellow. Clear, watery mucus is usually a sign of the common cold.

Sinus Infection Causes & Risk Factors

Sinus infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, allergens, and even fungi. Factors that can increase your risk of developing a sinus infection include:

  • Catching a cold or the flu
  • Experiencing seasonal allergies
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke
  • Having structural abnormalities in the sinuses, such as nasal polyps

Acute Sinusitis vs. Chronic Sinusitis

A sinus infection is also called sinusitis. Acute sinusitis refers to a sinus infection that lasts less than four weeks. These are usually caused by viruses. Chronic sinusitis, on the other hand, lasts longer than 12 weeks and is typically related to bacterial infection.

When to Seek Medical Care for a Sinus Infection

To avoid complications, be sure to seek timely medical treatment if your sinus infection symptoms:

  • Persist for more than 10 days without improvement
  • Are accompanied by a fever that lasts longer than three days
  • Worsen after improving
  • Are severe or disrupt your quality of life

When Is Antibiotic Treatment Needed for a Sinus Infection?

In general, we may prescribe antibiotic treatment for your sinus infection if you have thick nasal discharge or facial pressure for at least 10 days. Additionally, if you experienced these symptoms initially and they resolved only to come back with a vengeance a short time later (a common scenario for bacterial sinusitis), antibiotic treatment may be appropriate.

Otherwise, we may suggest a “watchful waiting” approach, as most mild sinus infections clear up in about two weeks. In the meantime, you may be able to improve your comfort with home remedies, such as:

  • Pain-relieving medications
  • Nasal decongestants
  • Nasal saline irrigators
  • Nasal steroid sprays

What Happens if a Sinus Infection Goes Untreated?  

It’s important to promptly seek care for persistent sinus infection symptoms. An untreated sinus infection can lead to uncomfortable problems like:

  • Nasal polyps
  • Laryngitis
  • Increased difficulty breathing
  • Dacryocystitis (tear sac inflammation)
  • Septum deviation

Due to the sinus cavities’ proximity to the brain, it’s also possible for an untreated sinus infection to spread and cause potentially life-threatening (albeit rare) complications like meningitis and brain abscesses.

How to Prevent a Sinus Infection

It’s impossible to definitively prevent sinus infections and other respiratory illnesses, but there are several steps you can take to lower your risk of getting sick. For example:

  • Frequently wash your hands with warm water and soap.
  • Don’t smoke and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Receive your annual flu vaccine as well as a pneumococcal vaccine, if appropriate.
  • Try to stay clear of people who have colds or other respiratory infections.
  • Moisten the air in your home by using a clean humidifier.

Choose PhysicianOne Urgent Care for Sinus Infection Treatment

If you need help managing your common cold symptoms or you suspect that you might have a sinus infection, visit PhysicianOne Urgent Care’s walk-in urgent care center in West Hartford. Our team can evaluate your illness and recommend an appropriate treatment strategy to help you recover. Plus, we’re open 365 days per year during extended hours, welcome people of all ages on a walk-in basis, and offer an easy online check-in system to streamline our patients’ visits.

Of course, we understand that sinus infections and other unpleasant illnesses can make it difficult to leave the comfort of your couch. That’s why PhysicianOne Urgent Care offers 24/7 telemedicine services that allow patients to consult with our clinicians and receive medical guidance from anywhere at any time! Our Virtual Visits are easy to schedule and are performed over a highly secure videoconferencing platform.

For sinus infection treatment made simple, visit PhysicianOne Urgent Care in West Hartford today or connect with us online. Most health insurances are accepted at our practice.

Son kissing mother
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the attention you gave me last week. My son was started on antibiotics and ear drops. Within 24 hours he began to feel better. The poor kid had been going to school in tears because he was afraid of missing any more days, but feeling (and looking) just awful! He's not been able to even think about lacrosse practice, but thanks to starting him on antibiotics, he was thrilled to return to practice today.
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