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The common cold, flu and sinus infection are all respiratory issues, with different degrees of severity, affecting different parts of the respiratory system. For instance, cold and flu have similar symptoms, but they manifest with a different degree of severity. Some similar symptoms of the common cold and flu are, for example, sneezing, a runny nose, body aches and fatigue, but in flu’s case, these are more severe. On the other hand, one of the main symptoms of a sinus infection is increased pain and pressure in the face, followed by yellow or greenish mucus. Below we will discuss the three, separately.
The common cold may be caused by a variety of viruses, and specialists catalogue it as a self-limited type of infection. It is an upper respiratory tract infection, and is one of the most frequent diseases in the world, generally manifesting itself during the cold season.
Those with common cold seem to be the most contagious during the first interval (two to three days) of the flu, interval in which their interactions with healthy individuals should be limited, in order to limit the prospect of passing the infection. Common cold causes is a virus infection. There are more than 200 viruses guilty of the common cold, each of these responding differently to medication. Because of this reason, the virus causing the infection must be identified, and the management strategy, including medication, must be adapted. The areas of the respiratory tract affected by this type of infection are the following:
Some of the most common viruses that cause cold are the Rhinovirus, the Coronavirus, the RSV and the parainfluenza virus.
Frequent symptoms of the cold manifest after an incubation interval of the virus, which usually takes three days from the moment the patient is contracting the virus. However, the incubation period and the symptoms are determined by the type of virus causing the infection. The symptoms manifest differently in each individual, but below are some of the most common of those.
These symptoms manifest in both children and adults, but children may experience those to a more severe degree.
The common cold diagnosis does not require a visit to a GP’s office. Based on the symptoms described above, each patient can determine if they have an upper respiratory tract infection or not.
While the common cold has no treatment available, taking proper medicine will help with relieving the symptoms. Some of the most common cold treatment is over the counter drugs.
Also known as the flu, influenza is the result of an infection with an influenza virus. The flu symptoms are similar to the cold symptoms, but their manifestation is more severe. In children, the symptoms may include vomiting and nausea. These are, however, uncommon in adults. Untreated, the flue may lead to severe complications, such as pneumonia, sinus infection, asthma and in rare cases even heart failure. The flu can be divided into three types.
Each of these types is extremely contagious, and general recommendations during the flu season are washing hands frequently, wearing a surgical mask and limiting the contact with those infected. The flu transmission ways are through contact with contaminated surfaces, or even with the hand or eye of those contagious. The World Health Organization is recommending yearly vaccination against influenza, especially for children since they are more prone to develop complications. Antiviral drugs seem to also help for this purpose.
The most rapid method of flu diagnosis is a flu rapid test. These are usually performed during an influenza epidemic. However, this is not the most effective way of determining the presence of an influenza virus, because the quality of these tests varies, and also their efficacy to the type of virus present. In many cases, clinical tests are not performed, the judgement of the doctor themselves being enough. However, in order to diagnose the type of virus that is at the root of the infection and adapt the treatment, testing may be necessary. In order to establish the presence of a virus, a polymerase chain reaction is incredibly effective.
Some of the most common flu symptoms are as it follows.
The flu is caused by influenza viruses. There are three types of influnzaviruses, divided into three branches. The A, B, and C branch. However, in the past few years has been suggested a D branch of this classification, being specific to bovine influenza.
Common recommendations for those suffering from the flu are plenty of rest, prohibiting consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, drinking plenty of water and medication administration. However, antibiotics are not recommended in this infection’s case. However, in case of complications, such as bacterial pneumonia, antibiotics are recommended as a treatment for a secondary affection. Some of the frequently prescribed drugs recommended in flu treatment & care strategies are as it follows.
Also, a common recommendation for those with an influenza virus infection is quarantine, because of the highly contagious character of this infection.
Sinus infection is an inflammation of the sinuses, also known under the name of sinusitis or rhinosinusitis. When the sinus cavity (usually filled with air) becomes clogged and filled with fluids and secretions, germ and bacteria growth is promoted. In many cases, other conditions can lead to clogged sinuses. From these worth mentioning are the common gold, allergic rhinitis, and nasal polyps. This is quite a common affection; approximately 36 million of Americans suffer form it in yearly. Sinus infection is more likely to be developed by those with frequent blocked drainage ducts, those with frequent colds, immune system weakness or even nasal polyps. There are three categories of sinus infection – acute, subacute and chronic.
There is another type of sinusitis recognised by researchers, the acute exacerbation of the condition. The symptoms grow in intensity in this case, but after specialised therapy they disappear completely.
Sinus infection symptoms are severe. Some of the most common, based on the type of sinusitis, are:
Infectious or bacterial sinusitis
Sinus infection diagnosis is based on each patient’s history and symptoms; a GP will diagnose the condition and recommend treatment. The presence of three or more of the symptoms above in a patient indicates clearly a sinus infection.
Sinus infection causes are varied and differ from individual to individual. However, if the sinus passage is blocked with inflammation or mucus, the sinus cavity becomes clogged and the pain installs. Some of the most common causes of sinus infection are the following.
Sinus infection treatment and management strategies differ depending on the type of sinusitis. Regardless of the strategy adopted, the sinus infection treatment has as goals drainage improvement, infection removal (if there is an infection present), pain relief and scar tissue formation prevention. In most of the cases, doctors recommend drinking plenty of water and rest. Because it is a viral infection, antibiotics are in many cases avoided.
Intranasal corticosteroids are usually prescribed for acute sinusitis. However, recent research has shown that they have no effect on the condition’s evolution. The benefits from a combination of corticosteroids and antibiotic are relatively small, as the research suggests.
As a last resort solution, in cases of reoccurring sinus infections, surgery is recommended by most specialists.
Sinus infection is one of the most common conditions in the world, only in the United States, approximately 32 billion of individuals suffering from a form of sinusitis. From those, approximately 13% suffer from chronic sinusitis.