- Sinus Infection vs. COVID-19
- Symptoms and Signs
- Complications and Side Effects
What is a sinus infection vs. COVID-19 coronavirus?
As doctors and researchers continue to learn more about COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus, you might be wondering how to tell if that is what’s causing your symptoms. Some symptoms of a sinus infection (also known as sinusitis) can be similar to those of coronavirus. However, there are some important and noticeable differences between a sinus infection vs. coronavirus.
What is a sinus infection?
Inside your skull, there are open spaces that are filled with air. These cavities are called sinuses, and they are connected to the air passages of your nose. Your sinuses produce mucus, which helps to sweep bacteria and other microbes out of your nasal passage. Sinusitis — or a sinus infection — happens when these cavities become clogged with mucus and get infected or inflamed.
What is COVID-19 coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a new infectious disease that causes influenza-like symptoms; it largely impacts the respiratory system. These symptoms are different depending on whether you have a sinus infection vs. coronavirus. COVID-19 has symptoms like cough, fever, and in extreme cases, difficulty breathing, and death.
What are symptoms and signs of a sinus infection vs. COVID-19 coronavirus?
Symptoms of a sinus infection
Symptoms of a sinus infection include:
- Facial pain or tenderness
- Swelling around the bridge of nose and eyes
- Greenish nasal discharge
- Nasal congestion
- Postnasal drip
- Pain in teeth
- Cough (with mucus)
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
Symptoms of COVID-19 Coronavirus
Symptoms of coronavirus infection include:
- Fever or chills
- Cough (dry)
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of sense, like taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Runny nose or congestion
- Nausea or vomiting
- Chest pain
- Bluish lips or face
Some serious symptoms can indicate a severe case, where you’ll want to call your doctor for emergency care immediately. These severe symptoms can include:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Trouble staying awake
Diagnosis for sinus infection vs. COVID-19 coronavirus
Diagnosis for sinus infection
Your doctor will examine you and ask about your symptoms, including where you are feeling discomfort and whether you have recently been sick with a cold or other illness.
Your doctor can typically diagnose a sinus infection based on your symptoms. Based on this information, your doctor will likely be able to determine whether you have infected or inflamed sinuses. If your sinus problems are chronic or recur often, a doctor who specializes in allergies called an allergist may do some allergy tests to try to help figure out the cause.
If your sinus infection has been going on for a long time, or you have frequent infections in your sinuses, your doctor may use other procedures to assess the problem. Using a long, flexible camera called a nasal endoscope, your doctor may look into your sinus cavities to see their condition. Alternatively, your doctor may recommend a computerized tomography (CT) scan to assess the infection.
Diagnosis for COVID-19 coronavirus
If you suspect you might have COVID-19 coronavirus, consult local sources about testing availability and sites. Coronavirus can be confirmed by a viral test — often a nose swab — that tells you if you have an active infection or by a test for antibodies, which would be mean you had a past infection.
Latest Lungs News
Daily Health News
Treatments for sinus infection vs. COVID-19 coronavirus
Treatments for sinus infection
Up to 70% of people recover from a sinus infection without the use of prescription medications. Usually, symptoms go away within a week to 10 days.
If your doctor determines that your sinusitis was caused by a bacterial infection, taking antibiotics can help relieve your symptoms more quickly.
If your sinus infection is extremely serious or is a chronic condition, your doctor may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist who may suggest surgery. Some people have anatomical factors that make them more prone to sinus infections, and surgery can help make changes to prevent recurrent infections.
Home care for sinus infection
There are some ways to manage your sinus infection symptoms at home that can bring some relief:
- Nasal decongestant sprays (used for no more than 3 or 4 days to avoid rebound phenomenon)
- Nasal saline washes
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers or decongestants
- Breathing warm, moist air
- Warm compresses on the face, nose, and forehead
Additional suggestions include:
- Staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
- Sleeping with your head elevated to promote drainage
- Consuming warm food and drinks (tea, soup, etc.)
Treatments for COVID-19 coronavirus
Unlike sinusitis, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, and though the coronavirus can enter your body through your nasal passages, there is currently no indication that it causes sinus infections. Since most COVID-19 infections do not cause a stuffy or runny nose, it is not associated with sinusitis at this point.
If you believe that you might have COVID-19, contact your doctor to learn more about testing availability.
Possible complications and side effects of sinus infection vs. COVID-19 coronavirus
Complications and side effects of sinus infection
Though the vast majority of sinus infections resolve without medical intervention, a serious sinus infection that is left untreated can cause serious complications. It is possible for an infection to spread into your eyes, skull bones, meninges, or brain. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:
- High fever
- Severe headache
- Mental confusion
- Stiff neck
- Swollen, red, painful eye(s)
- Impaired vision
- Difficulty breathing, speaking, or swallowing
Complications and side effects of COVID-19 coronavirus
Some cases of COVID-19 Coronavirus have uncomfortable but relatively mild symptoms, like the flu. Some cases are more severe, requiring hospitalization, and people may experience lasting effects.
Many people with COVID-19 Coronavirus recover fully and regain their health, but some people experience long-term side effects including fatigue, pain, and breathing trouble, as well as recurring headaches or fever and a more lasting depression, among others. Because this virus is relatively new, doctors aren’t sure yet about the significance these extended symptoms may have over time.
If you are unsure whether your symptoms are caused by a sinus infection vs. COVID-19 coronavirus, your doctor will be able to help determine the source of your symptoms and the best course of treatment.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology: “Sinus Infection”
Cedars Sinai: “Sinus Conditions & Treatments.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Symptoms of Coronavirus.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Testing for COVID-19.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Things to Know about the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Long-Term Effects of COVID-19.”
Cooper University Healthcare: “COVID-19 and Sinusitis.”
Cooper University Healthcare: “Sinusitis.”
Harvard Health Publishing: “Sinusitis.”
NYU Langone: “Surgical Treatment for Chronic Sinusitis.”
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: “Do you have a sinus infection or COVID-19?”
Top How Do You Know if You Have a Sinusitis or COVID19 Related Articles
What Causes Chronic Sinusitis?Chronic sinusitis occurs when the tissue lining the facial sinuses becomes inflamed for at least three months. Chronic sinusitis usually involves nasal airway swelling (rhinitis). The causes of chronic sinusitis include nasal polyps, deviated nasal septum, medical conditions, respiratory tract infections, and allergies.
Coronavirus COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2): The Latest News, Updates, and InformationSee the latest news updates and information on the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. Learn about symptoms, prevention, vaccines, possible treatments, quarantine, isolation, social distancing, self-isolation and more.
Coronavirus: How COVID-19 Affects Your BodyBy now, everyone knows about COVID-19. But do you know how it can affect your body?
How Can You Tell if You Have a Sinus Infection?Sinus infection is a common issue that affects many people. Learn the signs of sinus infection, what causes sinus infection, how doctors diagnose sinus infection, and what you can do to treat sinus infection.
How Do You Know if You Have Bronchitis or COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?What is the difference between bronchitis and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)? Learn how to recognize the symptoms of bronchitis and COVID-19 to help you treat either illness.
How Long Does Sinusitis Last?Sinuses are air-filled cavities in the skull that surround the nose. They are present in the forehead, cheeks, and near the eyes. These are closed spaces in the skull with a small opening.
Is a Sinus Infection Contagious?Sinus infection (sinusitis) is infection (viral, bacterial, or fungal) or inflammation of the sinuses. Symptoms of sinus infection are cough, bad breath, coughing up greenish-yellow sputum, sinus headache, and other symptoms of the common cold. Treatments of sinus infection are home remedies to soothe symptoms and antibiotics if the infection is bacterial or fungal.
What Are the Best Natural Home Remedies for Sinus Infections (Sinusitis)?What is a sinus infection (sinusitis)? Learn whether you need antibiotics and what other treatments and home remedies can help to relieve your symptoms.
Natural Sinus RemediesSinus pressure and pain are common in people who suffer from allergies, the common cold, and chemical exposure. Humidified air, hydration, avoiding allergens, and nasal irrigation can help relieve sinus pressure symptoms.
Sinus Headache Pain, Symptoms, Treatments, Remedies, and CuresSinus headache is caused by a sinus infection or inflammation of the sinus cavities. Symptoms of a sinus headache include pain, runny or stuffy nose, and chronic cough. There are many causes of sinus headaches including sinusitis or sinus infection, allergies, smoke, infections, or colds. Treatment for sinus headache depends on the cause. Some home remedies may relieve sinus headache pain symptoms.
Sinus Surgery (Endoscopic) ProcedureSinus surgery involves the precise removal of diseased sinus tissue with the improvement in the natural drainage channels by the creation of a pathway for infected material to drain from the sinus cavities. The sinus surgery information is provided to help you prepare for sinus surgery and to help you understand more clearly the associated benefits, risks, and complications.
Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)
Sinus infection (sinusitis) is caused by allergies, infection, and chemicals or other irritants of sinuses. Signs and symptoms are headache, fever, and facial tenderness, pressure, or pain. Treatments of sinus infections are generally with antibiotics and at times, home remedies.
Sinusitis SlideshowSinus infection (sinusitis) symptoms can include headaches, a sore throat, and toothaches. Antibiotics and home remedies can relieve sinus infection symptoms.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV)Infection with COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV) causes respiratory problems in humans. Transmission of COVID-19 occurs mainly through contact with respiratory sections from an infected person, however, fecal contamination may also spread the virus. Symptoms start off flu-like and progress to coughing, fever, shortness of breath, shaking chills, headache, loss of sense of taste and/or smell, muscle pain, and sore throat. Treatment focuses on supportive care and symptom relief. COVID-19 vaccines are available.