If you've recently had a cold, then your nose may have been stuffy and blocked up. As your cold clears up and you start to feel better, you may have expected your nasal problems to disappear too.
However, this doesn't always happen. Sometimes, your cold leaves you with sinus problems. These may eventually clear up on their own or they may be a sign of an infection that might need treatment. How can you tell if you have a sinus infection?
1. Pain Around Your Sinuses
If you have a sinus infection, then you're likely to have some pain around your sinus areas. This pain can range from nagging to relatively severe. Basically, the areas of your face around your nose, cheekbones and jaw may feel sore and tender.
If your sinuses are blocked by an infection, then you may feel pain or pressure that runs across your nose and into your cheekbones. This pain often gets get worse if you bend your head forward and then gets slightly better when you hold your head upright again. In some cases, you may even feel that your top teeth are aching. You may also develop a sinus headache that is quite debilitating and that never really clears even if you take painkillers.
2. Nasal Discharge
While your nose may have been normally runny during your cold, you may find that your nose continues to run but that the discharge that comes out isn't the same. For example, your snot may turn yellow or green and it may smell pretty bad.
Oddly-coloured and smelly nasal discharge may be a sign that you have an infection. You may also feel that discharge is running down the back of your throat and that it is giving you bad breath.
3. A High Temperature
Any fever you had with your cold may have died down but if your temperature starts to rise again afterwards, then you may have a problem. A high temperature that lasts for more than a few days can be a sign that your body is trying to fight infection.
If you're having sinus problems that aren't improving or that seem to be getting worse, then see your GP. In some cases, sinus infections are left to cure themselves. However, if you have a bacterial infection, then your doctor may want you to take antibiotics to clear the infection up and prevent it from causing other problems.