Many patients present to me in the clinic and say- ' Doc I have a Sinus problem.'
Most of them turn out to have allergies or just a simple cold.
In today's article, I am going to bring out the differences between a Migraine headache, Sinus headache, and allergic symptoms or common cold. With COVID-19 around, we will also look at the differences between the symptoms of a COVID-19 infection and acute sinusitis.
Difference between a Sinus headache and Allergy
A clear cut case of Acute Sinusitis presents with the following steps - Viral infection of the nose sets off sneezing, nasal congestion, and fever. If this does not resolve in about 5 days, a Secondary Bacterial infection sets in- the discharge becomes thick and yellow with postnasal drip, there is increased nasal congestion and blockage with associated headache and cheek pain - this is Sinusitis.
Most patients usually have symptoms better explained by Allergy- Sneezing, clear watery nasal discharge, nasal itching, nasal congestion, eyes itching, and watering. An allergy can also cause a headache (commonly known as an allergy headache).
Migraine vs Sinus Headache: Know the difference
Watch this video to understand:
- Causes and symptoms a migraine headache
- Causes and symptoms of a sinus headache
COVID-19 infection versus Acute Bacterial Sinusitis
The Coronavirus is also known to attack the sinuses - the virus lodges in and replicates in the Sinus tissues.
The differences between a Coronavirus infection and a regular case of Acute Sinusitis are:
- Covid-19 patients are usually sicker with other symptoms of fever, cough, breathlessness.
- Covid-19 - some patients complain of complete loss of sense of smell and taste as the first symptom of the infection- it seems the virus travels along the nerve root of the Olfactory nerve. It is also possible that these patients may have some neurological symptoms as well.
- Covid-19 patients do not usually have the thick purulent nasal discharge so typical of a Sinus infection
In conclusion, please remember if your headache is severe and does not subside in 2-3 days, it is best to consult your doctor immediately.