How Do I Tell The Difference Between A Head Cold And A Sinus Infection?

Question: How do I tell the difference between a head cold and a sinus infection?

Answer: Head colds are typically caused by viruses. They last a few days; they're self-limiting. The drainage from the nose from a head cold is generally clear mucus. If that head cold persists longer than a week or 10 days, you begin to develop some facial pressure or headaches and the clear mucus drainage becomes discolored - that is yellow or greenish. Then you think about perhaps that cold has developed into a secondary bacterial infection leading to sinusitis.

Next: When Should I Call My Doctor About A Sinus Infection?

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