Flu or Sinusitis: Know the Difference
The flu and sinusitis can present in similar ways, with similar symptoms, which may account for some of the confusion surrounding them. In fact the flu and sinusitis can even coexist when an influenza infection settles into the sinuses, creating blockage and discomfort. Distinguishing one from the other is important for receiving proper care, however, which is why I herewith offer this quick primer on self-diagnosis.
1. Where Does It Hurt?
Sinusitis tends to be localized in the sinuses. If you have pressure in your face, front-of-head headaches, or if the pain intensifies when you tip forward, that is a good indication that you have a sinus infection. Although the flu can bring on respiratory symptoms as well, generally it is better known for causing full-body misery, including aches, nausea, and fatigue.
2. What’s Been Helping?
Sinusitis responds fairly well to anti-inflammatories such as Advil – at least in the short-term. Because the problem is inflammation, NSAIDs and similar medications can relieve some of the worst discomfort. The flu, on the other hand, tends to be characterized by the sort of aches and pains that respond better to Tylenol. Take note of what works – that little detail could be diagnostic.
3. How Long Have You Had It?
The flu tends to last a week, maybe two. Sinusitis, on the other hand, can be chronic, lasting several months or years. I often get referrals from other physicians when sinus symptoms and respiratory distress do not resolve in a matter of weeks. If you have had trouble breathing and discomfort for more than a couple weeks, it may be time to get in contact with an experienced ENT for a closer look.
It’s flu season, and you can never be too vigilant about protecting your health and productivity. If you suspect you may be suffering from a sinus ailment, do yourself a favor and contact a Los Angeles sinus specialist today.