Fall and Winter mean more stuffy noses, but how do you know when a sniffle is something more serious? Many cases of the common cold and flu can develop into sinusitis, or the inflammation of the sinus tissue. Better known as a sinus infection, this common winter condition happens when the sinuses become blocked, fill with fluid, and bacteria grows out of control. While some sinus infections will clear up on their own, others will require care at a medical clinic.
Some symptoms of a sinus infection are similar to a cold — but here’s how to tell when it’s actually an infection. The big one is probably sinus pain, which can occur on the bridge of the nose, below or behind the eyes, on your jaw or teeth, and in your forehead. People don’t always connect this pain to their sinuses, because when you have a cold, you generally feel miserable, right? But if your entire face hurts, it’s time to consider that it could be an infection. Some other symptoms include congestion, a sore throat, or dizziness.
While it may feel possible to self-diagnose based on sinus pain alone, and many people do, it’s still important to get yourself checked out. If you experience multiple sinus infections in a short period, or seemingly have one extended one, you could have more serious sinus problems like a deviated septum or an overabundance of nasal polyps. A doctor will be able to establish whether you need treatment or if it’s something you’ll have to see a specialized doctor for.
Nonetheless, sinus infections will likely be popping up all over the place this winter. In order to get the fastest treatment and be back to everyday life quickly, consider an urgent care clinic rather than having to wait around for a doctor.