The fall and winter seasons are well known to be the time when people get upper respiratory infections. When it becomes necessary to stay inside and close the windows and doors, people are in closer quarters together, and germs are much more readily passed. Many of my patients aren’t sure when it’s time to see a doctor and whether antibiotic treatment is needed.
The typical cold will often get progressively worse for the first 3 to 5 days. The symptoms of congestion, pressure, drainage, sore throat and fatigue can be the same for both a bacterial sinus infection and a cold. You can even have yellow, green drainage with a cold. I typically tell my patients that given this timeline it is worth sticking things out for the first 5 to 7 days. If after 5 days symptoms are getting worse or showing no signs of improvement then it is worth checking with your doctor to see if evaluation or treatment is needed.
It’s worth waiting to see if symptoms get better on their own with over the counter cold preparations. Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Although antibiotics help when there is a bacterial infection, they have potential side effects and if given for a viral infection can lead to resistant bacteria in your system. Even bacterial infections will sometimes resolve on their own.
If after waiting things out and you are feeling no better then give us a call. Our staff at Physician Hearing Centers – Dr. Bert Brown, ENT will answer questions and we can always make an appointment for someone who needs to be seen.