Know The Signs Your Cold Has Become Something More

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Tis the season for sniffles, sneezes and sore throats.

In most cases, experts say, you just need to live with it for a week or two. Dr. Allen Kossoy of Topeka's Cotton-O'Neil Clinic says most colds start with a scratchy throat and fatigue, then increase to a congested, runny nose and sneezing which peaks in about two to three days, then dissipates.

If the symptoms don't run their course, though, Dr. Kossoy says, it may have progressed into a bacterial infection called sinusitis.

Sinusitis is a complication of a cold. Dr. Kossoy says a cold -- or allergies -- suddenly get worse, with a person experiencing facial pain, halitosis and a cough. In children, a nocturnal cough is often present. Dr. Kossoy says, despite what many people think, green nasal discharge doesn't necessarily indicate infection. He says even a regular cold can lead to the discharge because it's a sign of inflammation.

While antibiotics won't do much for the common cold, which is a virus, the medications can help sinusitis. Dr. Kossoy says it can take two to three weeks to completely rid the infection - and it's important medication doesn't stop too soon. He says if sinusitis is undertreated, a person can experience chronic sinus infection problems or complications such as ear infections, eye infections or even meningitis.

Dr. Kossoy says sinusitis is particularly serious for people with asthma. He says their asthma symptoms often won't improve until the sinus infection is addressed.