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Sinus Infection vs. Cold vs. Allergies


A runny nose, watery eyes, and pressure near/around the sinuses are tell-tale signs you have allergies, right? Perhaps. These symptoms could also indicate the common cold, or in severe cases, a sinus infection. If you haven’t experienced a sinus infection before, you may not know what to expect from this ailment. This is usually because a sinus infection often mimics the signs and symptoms of a cold or seasonal allergies. Fortunately, the team at Specialty Surgical Center is here to help you determine the differences among sinus infections, colds, and allergies.

The ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctors at Specialty Surgical Center specialize in a number of surgical and non-surgical procedures. For example, the team can administer simple allergy and hearing tests, as well as complex surgical interventions, such as rhinoplasties, tonsillectomies, and tracheotomies. Our physicians’ educational backgrounds, surgical skills, and clinical expertise allow them to determine whether or not you’re suffering from chronic ailments or serious diseases that require immediate medical attention.

As such, our specialists want to educate patients on the differences among sinus infections, colds, and allergies. Continue reading to learn more!

Colds vs. Allergies

Seasonal allergies and the common cold often share similar symptoms, such as:

  • Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Watery eyes

These symptoms can arise at any point during the year depending on the cause, and it’s important for patients to understand that “colds” don’t just occur in the wintertime. While these two ailments share similar symptoms, there are two symptoms that put the kibosh on this whole argument: fever and body aches. These two symptoms do not develop in patients with allergies. So, if you can’t quite figure out what’s causing your symptoms, check to see if your body temperature has risen or if your muscles are beginning to ache – if both occur, you’re probably experiencing a cold!

Sinus Infections

Sinus infections can be tricky to diagnose because they produce similar symptoms to both allergies and colds. Moreover, allergies, colds, and asthma can all trigger sinus infections, making it even harder to identify. Fortunately, sinus infections do produce symptoms that differ from the common cold and allergies. See below:

  • An aching, pressure-like feeling in the middle of the face
  • Nasal discharge
  • Aching around the jaw
  • Bad breath
  • A headache that worsens when leaning forward or backward

These symptoms, in addition to a sore throat, watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, and congestion can all indicate a sinus infection. If your symptoms don’t go away after a week, schedule an appointment with one of our ENTs. He or she will be able to evaluate your symptoms and prescribe antibiotics to help with your infection.

Specialty Surgical Center is located in Sparta, New Jersey, and our staff consists of board certified surgeons and anesthesiologists performing procedures in Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Spinal Care, Podiatry, Urology, Pain Management, ENT, Hand Surgery, Lithotripsy, Brachytherapy, GYN and Laser Surgery.

For more information about Specialty Surgical Center, call 973-940-3166 or visit our Contact Page.

The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.