Sinusitis without a cold? Symptoms and tips for relief

Woman lying in a blue sofa feeling sinus pain

Headache, blocked nose, sore throat… that certainly sounds like a cold, but you could well be suffering from sinusitis without a cold. The symptoms can be very similar, but there are a few subtle differences. Get clued up on the symptoms of sinusitis without a cold and try out our top tips for getting some sinusitis relief.

Can you get sinusitis without cold symptoms?

It’s natural to assume that sinusitis goes hand in hand with a cold. After all, many of the symptoms are the same, and we often experience the signs of sinusitis after a cold. However, you can have sinusitis without a cold.

The difference between a cold and sinusitis

A virus in the upper respiratory tract causes the common cold. This usually affects the nose, and can also affect the throat, larynx and sinuses. Sinusitis, however, occurs when your nasal passages become infected. So, how can you get sinusitis without a cold? All sorts of things can cause infection in your nasal passages, from viruses to bacteria or even allergies.

Colds don’t usually cause sinusitis, but sinusitis often follows a cold. That’s because we tend touch our noses a lot when we have a cold, and that can bring bacteria into contact with the sinuses. As sinuses don’t drain, that bacteria can fester and grow, causing an infection. And that’s why sinusitis is typically harder to get rid of than a cold.

Cold symptoms that are similar to sinusitis symptoms

Typical symptoms of a cold that you might also experience with sinusitis include:

  • Blocked nose
  • Excess mucus
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

Sneezing, however, is a common symptom of a cold that you don’t usually have with sinusitis. But what if you’re experiencing sinus pain without a cold?

Sinusitis – but no cold symptoms?

There are certain symptoms of sinusitis that you don’t tend to get with a cold. These can include:

  • Tenderness/pain in the cheeks and behind the eyes
  • Postnasal drip (down the back of the throat)
  • Thick, yellow or green mucus (either down the throat or out of the nose)
  • Bad breath
  • Toothache or jaw ache

Fortunately, there are ways to relieve sinusitis without cold symptoms.

Sinus pain with cold: treatment

Sinusitis usually clears up on its own in two to three weeks, but there’s no harm in looking for some comfort during the infection. The key to relieving the symptoms of sinusitis without a cold are treatments that break down the congestion in the sinuses. This can be done in a couple of ways that use warmth to soothe the sinuses:

  • Hold a warm, clean flannel over your face for a few minutes each time, several times a day.
  • Lean over a bowl of hot water and breathe in the steam for a few minutes at a time, a few times a day (avoid doing this with children, due to the risk of scalding).

It’s likely you’ll be wiping mucus from your nose and mouth during the infection, so keep a box of soft Cushelle tissues nearby whilst your sinusitis relief starts working.

Place a box of tissues on your bedside, as you’re more likely to experience postnasal drip when you’re lying down. Make sure they are strong enough to deal with your heavy mucus, but also gentle on your skin.

With these answers, you can now identify what you’re suffering from – and get some relief. If your symptoms get worse, are severe, or don’t get better after a week, it’s advisable to contact a medical professional.

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