Flu Channel
Topics
Medications
Quicklinks
Related Channels

Do Colds Cause Bacterial Sinus Infections?

Colds and Bacterial Sinus Infections

A sinus infection with a cold is so common that healthcare providers will combine the two to diagnose someone with acute rhinosinusitis. These infections are caused by a virus; just like the regular common cold, symptoms improve on their own, while treatment is focused on relieving symptoms.
 
In up to 2 percent of adults and up to 13 percent of children, a person with an upper respiratory infection can get a sinus infection caused by bacteria. This is known as acute bacterial sinusitis.
 
What are some clues that you should watch out for? Signs or symptoms that a viral sinus infection might have turned into a bacterial sinus infection include:
 
  • Symptoms have not improved within 10 days. Often, symptoms of an upper respiratory infection may not be completely gone within 10 days; however, a sinus infection may be suspected if the symptoms don't seem to be improving at all.
     
  • Severe symptoms. Bacteria tend to cause more severe infections than viruses. If the following symptoms are present for three to four consecutive days, this could mean a person has a bacterial sinus infection:
     
    • High fever (at least 102ºF or 39ºC)
    • Thick, colored nasal discharge
    • Person feels ill.
 
  • Worsening symptoms or symptoms returning ("double sickening"). In this situation, the person appears to be getting better, but on about day 6 or 7, symptoms get worse again. This can include worsening of the cough, nasal discharge, fever, or feeling sick again.
     
5 Tips to Keep a Cold at Bay

Sinusitis (Sinus Infection) Information

Terms of Use
Advertise with Us
Contact Us
About eMedTV
Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2006-2017 Clinaero, Inc.
eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.