Cold, Flu or Sinus Infection?

What’s going around?

Dr. John Rooke

November 2019


Coughing, sneezing, and head pain? There is a lot of buzz about cold, flu, and sinus infections and it can be challenging to tell what is causing you to not feel your best. Dr. Rooke answers some common questions surrounding colds, the flu, and sinus infections here.


How do I tell if I have a sinus infection or the flu?

A sinus infection usually follows head congestion from allergies or a cold.  Symptoms are typically nasal congestion, post-nasal drainage, facial pressure/pain, ear fullness, and sometimes dental pain.  The flu is usually a fairly rapid onset of fever, body aches, and fatigue, sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Click here to learn how to best prepare for the flu. 


After how many days of not feeling well do I need to see a doctor?

Most infections are viral and can last several days.  If high fever occurs, or the illness lasts longer than a week or so, it’s best to be evaluated by a medical provider. Click here to find a ParkMed location most convenient to you!


Can a sinus infection lead to other illnesses such as an ear infection?

Yes, sinus infections cause significant head congestion, which can lead to middle ear infection.


Is a sinus infection contagious?

A typical sinus infection is not contagious, but the underlying viral “cold” that may have led to the sinus infection is contagious. It is important to wash your hands to prevent the spreading of germs!


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