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Sinus Infection vs. COVID-19

Picture of a woman lying on a couch experiencing sinus pain.So, you’re feeling under the weather. Is it a run-of-the-mill sinus infection, or could it be something worse? It’s very common for people to question what’s causing their symptoms, and even more so since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. At PhysicianOne Urgent Care, we understand our patients’ concerns, and with that in mind, we’ve put together some tips on how to tell the difference between a sinus infection and COVID-19.

Sinus Infection Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

A sinus infection occurs when the sinuses become blocked—often due to a cold or allergies—and the resulting fluid build-up becomes infected with germs. Sinus infections can cause a number of symptoms similar to those of a cold, such as congestion, runny nose, sore throat, coughing, fever, headache, and fatigue. However, some of the hallmark symptoms of a sinus infection include:

  • Pain and pressure around the eyes, cheekbones, and upper jaw
  • Thick yellow or green nasal discharge
  • Bad breath
  • A decreased sense of smell and taste

In many cases, sinus infections resolve on their own, without the need for treatment from a medical provider. To relieve symptoms in the meantime, you can take over-the-counter decongestants or pain medication, use saline nasal spray or a neti pot, and apply warm compresses. But if your sinus infection lasts longer than seven to 10 days, or if your fever rises above 101 degrees, it’s important to seek professional care.

COVID-19 Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Similar to a sinus infection, COVID-19 can cause congestion, runny nose, sore throat, coughing, fever, headache, and fatigue. However, when compared to a sinus infection, COVID-19 tends to cause more respiratory symptoms, including shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. COVID-19 can also cause a new loss of taste and/or smell, as well as body aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Many COVID-19 cases can be treated at home without the need for professional care. Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) may help to relieve your symptoms. While you’re recovering from COVID-19, it’s important to stay home (except to get medical care) and quarantine yourself from others in your household. You should also rest and keep yourself hydrated. Keep in mind that you’ll need to seek emergency medical care if you experience difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, new confusion, difficulty waking up or staying awake, or discoloration in your skin, lips, or nail beds.

COVID-19 Testing Near You

Of course, the only way to tell for sure whether you have COVID-19 is to get tested. If you’re at all concerned that you might have COVID-19, you can turn to PhysicianOne Urgent Care for testing. We’re a trusted immediate care provider that’s been serving patients since 2008, and we’re pleased to offer antigen and PCR testing to patients in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. Click here to learn more about our COVID-19 testing services.

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