Cold & Flu

Everyone gets a cold from time to time. More than 200 different viruses can cause a cold, but the rhinovirus is the most common culprit. Its symptoms typically include runny nose and sneezing. It is worth mentioning that a cold is not the same as a flu (influenza). Flu symptoms are more severe and can include a fever and shaking chills, aches and pains, lethargy and headaches.

When to see a doctor for sinus and allergy symptoms

Allergies can cause itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, and sinus pain. They are the body’s reaction to usually harmless substances known as allergens. At the first sign of these allergens, the body produces antibodies to counter their effects.57

While this is helpful with sickness-causing germs, it’s not so helpful with harmless allergens. When the body encounters an allergen, it produces a chemical called histamine. It is actually this histamine – not the mould or pet hair – that causes allergy symptoms.57

Your sinuses, which are vital air-filled sacs in your skull, are normally germ-free. But if too much mucus blocks the sinus openings, as can happen with allergies, bacteria can thrive and multiply.58

This in turn could lead to sinusitis.

Acute and chronic sinusitis symptoms can include:58

  • headache
  • toothache
  • eye pain
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • sore throat and postnasal drip
  • cough
  • fever
  • tiredness
  • bad breath
  • reduced sense of smell

Home treatment can be helpful for managing sinus pain. Some tips include:58

  • applying a warm, moist washcloth to your face and forehead several times a day
  • inhaling steam from the shower or a bowl of hot water with a towel over the head
  • drinking plenty of liquids and using a saline nasal spray or humidifier if the environment is dry.

Consult your doctor if:58

  • symptoms last longer than 10-14 days or a cold gets worse after 7 days
  • you have a severe sinus headache that is not relieved by over-the-counter pain relief medications
  • symptoms remain after taking a full course of medicine prescribed by the doctor
  • there are changes in vision during an episode of sinusitis.

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