The start of the fall season brings coughs, colds, runny noses, and more. During this time, a common question among parents is knowing the difference between a cold and a sinus infection.
A cold typically lasts 5-10 days and can cause a low-grade fever, typically 101 or 102 degrees. They can also cause a daytime cough that is often worse at night. Colds tend to get worse around days 3-5, then start to improve around 7-10 days.
When there is an overgrowth of bacteria, this is known as bacterial sinusitis. The progression to a bacterial infection is because the bacteria gets blocked and trapped within. This typically occurs as the ongoing viral symptoms get worse, especially over 6-10 days. Symptoms are more severe and include worsening fever, nasal discharge, and cough.
There are a few things you can do at home. Try starting with salt water sprays to help thin out the mucus and make it easier to come out. You can also use a decongestant, but this can only used for a maximum of 3 days. If your child is over the age of 4 or 5, you can use other medications like Robitussin or Mucinex.
If you have any concerns, reach out to your pediatrician. As always, we would love to see you at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.