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Lions’ EMS: Sinusitis

By Steven King

  Despite the highly anticipated transition from winter to spring, there is one thing that still remains — the threat of the common cold.

The common cold is persistent, and while it may be easily treated with water and hot tea, it can potentially become a much bigger problem. When a person gets a cold, there is a risk that the symptoms of the virus will cause the nasal tissue to swell, leading to sinusitis or a sinus infection.

A sinus infection is like a cold on overdrive and can be incredibly difficult to deal with effectively. They are hard to detect and equally as challenging to get rid of, but gaining more knowledge of them will help to speed up the recovery process.

Sinus infections cause a stuffy nose, cough and sore throat like the common cold, but with the infection, one can also expect a fever, toothache, pain on one side of the face and nasty headaches.

Usually, these symptoms develop following a cold, which is why it is sometimes hard to determine whether or not a person has a sinus infection. However, the tell-tale sign of a sinus infection is the duration of the symptoms. Sinus infections can last for up to seven to 10 days longer than a cold. Also, a person usually starts to feel better from their cold, only to suddenly get much sicker.

Sinus infections can be quite draining and tricky to detect, but it is important to know how to keep the illness at bay and not keep you bed-ridden. First, drink plenty of fluids. The average recommendation is at least 10 glasses a day.

Along with fluids, try to rest as much as possible. If rest is simply not an option due to a busy schedule, use decongestants to deal with a stuffy nose, but make sure you are using a drowsy-free brand. The pain that is caused by the infection can be dealt with by using a pain reliever such as Tylenol or Advil. Be cautious, though, because taking cold medicine can actually make symptoms worse for you by drying out your mucous membranes. So do your best to drink fluids, rest and take medicine responsibly so you can continue with your busy college life.

While a sinus infection can certainly be quite nasty, there are ways to deal with it efficiently. Knowing the symptoms and some common patterns will help you diagnose the infection and allow you to treat your symptoms immediately. Remember that medications can help relieve some symptoms so that you can keep up with your classes and workload. Good luck, and stay healthy!


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