Our bodies are somehow prone to infections, especially those who have weaker immune systems. For example, our nose; the house of our nasal cavity, is one of the most affected when it comes to such infection known as a sinus infection.
What are Sinuses?
Whenever hearing the word sinus, the nose or nasal cavity comes to mind. It is because the sinus is a part of the nose, just like the nasal cavity.
The sinuses consist of a few parts that are connected together, they are described as hollow cavities and they are found around the part of the nose or cheeks, the nose bridge, and the forehead. They are also considered as a part of the human skull.
There are a total of four sinuses, they differ in sizes too. The biggest one can measure up to an inch, and the remaining three are smaller; where the two sinuses that are found in the nose bridge are the smallest. The four different sinuses are:
The maxillary sinuses are considered to be the biggest among the four sinuses. These are the ones found beside the nose, or where the cheekbones are. They are placed in a horizontal position.
The sphenoid sinuses are found along the nose bridge, specifically in the bones behind the nose. The sinuses are just small in size and they somehow hold the smaller sinuses called ethmoid sinuses.
The ethmoid sinuses are the smallest sinuses that can be found together with the sphenoid sinuses. However, they are specifically found in the part between the eyes.
The frontal sinuses are the second largest sinuses. They are found in the center part of the forehead, the one that is connected to the nose bridge.
The sinuses are made of soft tissues that are pink in color, also known as mucosa. The sinuses are said to be empty at times, containing only thin layers of mucus. Their main purpose in our bodies is also not yet clear. Researchers only have theories regarding sinuses, wherein they are said to help in humidifying the air we breathe and the other one states that they help upgrade our voices.
Common Colds VS Sinus Infection
It is frustrating to experience medical conditions affecting our noses. First off, it is very hard to breathe, plus there are a lot of other symptoms together with the breathing difficulty. Also, the nose does not only get affected by a single condition. Among the many other nasal conditions, there are two that are most of the time mistaken to be the other one. So, what are the differences between the common cold and a sinus infection?
The common cold is a normal condition that nearly every one of us gets to experience. They happen to people approximately once or more per year, there are even others who get colds almost every month.
The cold is caused by certain viruses, and they usually take up to 2 weeks before getting fully recovered. However, they are known to be healed by themselves. There may be others who drink medicines to treat colds, but most of the time they do not need medications. People who have colds are advised to drink lots of water and even eat fruits that are rich in vitamin C.
In order to see how the common cold differs from a sinus infection, here are the symptoms one will encounter when infected by the cold virus:
- Sneezing or allergic reactions
- Clogged nose
- Most of the time partnered with cough
- Sore throat
- Mild to severe headaches
- Overproduction of mucus that makes it hard to breathe
- Feeling tired or fatigue
- Sometimes accompanied by fever
Sinus infection is the result of infected nasal passages. This condition is more complex compared to common colds, it is also harder to treat and would take more than two weeks to heal. There are different causes of sinus infection; it may either be from infection by bacteria or virus and sometimes an allergy can lead to this infection.
Somehow, colds are possibly causing the development of sinus infections. It is because when somebody has a cold, they tend to touch their noses more. That is when the virus or bacteria is transferred to the sinuses, wherein they get infected by the parasite that will then remain and grow in the sinuses; causing an inflammation.
Symptoms of Sinus Infection
Compared to the common cold, a person with a sinus infection may encounter a lot more symptoms. Most of these symptoms are experienced all at the same time, while there are others who only get to undergo a few of them.
There is a possibility of experiencing moderate to severe headaches.
This because of the pressure caused by the blocked sinuses. It is also possible to encounter increased pain in the headache when the person bends.
It may cause swelling of the face.
The areas where the sinuses are placed will give a tender feeling when touched. This is because of the swollen sinuses that is the result of the infection.
There is a painful feeling on the nose.
Due to the pressure released by the overproduced mucus and the swelling of the sinuses, there will be a painful feeling on the nose.
A series of fever may be experienced.
Just like having common colds, the sinus infection may also cause fever on infected individuals. This is due the infection itself plus the inflammation of sinus tissues.
The nose becomes stuffy and congested.
Congestion happens when there is too much mucus that blocks nasal passages. The nose becomes stuffy and it results to difficulty in breathing through the nose.
The person will encounter a post nasal drip.
Post nasal drip is caused by the overproduction of mucus, thus it proceeds to the throat and will eventually start to irritate the tissues on that part.
Sore throat is experienced by the individual with a sinus infection.
Because of the post nasal drip that goes through the part of the throat, the irritation causes sore throat.
The chances of having a cough are high.
This due to the irritation that occurs in the throat tissues, the body responses with its effort to remove the cause of the irritation.
There is also a possibility of encountering tooth pain.
Since there is inflammation on the sinuses, the surrounding nerves and tissues feel the pressure. It then results in tooth pain.
The person will also experience pain in the areas surrounding the ear and eyes.
Same as the tooth pain, this is due to the pressure on the surrounding nerves and tissues.
It is possible to get ulceration.
Though they only arise in rare conditions, ulcers can develop when having a sinus infection. In the case of encountering ulceration during a sinus infection, seek immediate medical help.