Sinus Infections

Can You Have a Sinus Infection Without a Fever?

November 15, 2020

5 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

If you have signs of a sinus infection but no fever, you may be wondering, “Can you even have a sinus infection without a fever?” The simple answer to this question is yes… you can have a sinus infection without a fever.

However, a fever — or lack of fever — can sometimes (but not always) help you determine whether or not you have a cold, viral sinus infection, or bacterial sinus infection. Let’s take a few minutes to cover the difference between bacterial and viral infections and then discuss sinus infection symptoms and treatment options.

Cold vs. viral sinus infection vs. bacterial sinus infection

Many cold symptoms, flu symptoms, and sinus infection symptoms overlap with each other. To make matters more complicated, not all symptoms aren’t necessarily guaranteed. For example, even if you have a bacterial sinus infection, you may or may not have a fever, or you may or may not have a sore throat, etc. 

However, it’s still worth knowing the differing symptoms between all these health issues, especially when it comes to fevers. 

Common symptoms of a cold

  • Fever (occasional)
  • Cough
  • Runny, stuffed-up nose, and sneezing
  • Fatigue, body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Lasts around 10 days (can last up to 2 weeks)

Common symptoms of a viral sinus infection

  • Fever (occasional)
  • Thick, non-clear discharge
  • Facial pain
  • Cough (learn more about cough after sinus infection)
  • Fatigue
  • Bad breath (learn more about sinus infection odor)
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Lasts 10 or more days (but starts to clear up around this point)

Learn more about the early signs of a sinus infection.

Common symptoms of a bacterial sinus infection

  • Same symptoms of a viral sinus infection
  • Symptoms start to worsen after 7-10 days
  • Fever that lasts multiple days in a row
  • Typically requires antibiotics 

So, let’s go back to the original question: “Can you have a sinus infection without a fever?” As you can now see, having or not having a fever won’t always help you determine if you have a sinus infection. 

However, one thing that you can say with more certainty is that you probably have a bacterial sinus infection if you have a fever that lasts multiple days and does not let up.

How do you know if your sinus infection is getting better?

Let’s say you do have a fever and thick, yellowish mucus. Odds are it’s a sinus infection. But how do you know whether or not it’s a bacterial sinus infection?If you’re on day 3 or 4 of an infection, it will be difficult to ascertain what kind of infection you have on your own. 

However, if you’re somewhere between day 7 and day 11, this is what you should be on the lookout for:

  • Fever is completely gone or noticeably improving
  • Your congestion and discharge is obviously lessening
  • You don’t feel as fatigued as you did a few days ago

The theme here is obvious improvement.  If your situation is improving, then you probably have a viral sinus infection and do not need antibiotics. If your situation is not improving (and especially if it’s getting worse), schedule an appointment with your doctor.

How do you treat a sinus infection?

When it comes to colds and regular, short-term, one-off sinus infections, you should be okay with over-the-counter medication coupled with plenty of rest and relaxation. As we mentioned earlier, however, if you have a bacterial sinus infection, you may need antibiotics. 

It’s important to remember that untreated sinus infections can cause more issues later down the line. These issues can negatively impact your sense of smell, eyesight, and even your brain. In other words, if your sinus infection does last more than 7-10 days, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor. It’s worth it in the long run.

However, one-time sinus infections vs. frequent, unrelenting sinus infections are what differentiates acute and chronic sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis can last a few months and become a recurring theme in your life. If this is the case, you could end up requiring professional treatment such as balloon sinuplasty. 

Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure that takes less than 20 minutes. During this procedure, a tiny, endoscopic is inflated within your nasal passage. This process opens up your passages and allows for better drainage and long-lasting relief from sinusitis complications.

Find relief from sinus infections at Kaplan Sinus Relief

At Kaplan Sinus Relief, we help people breath better every day with a variety of sinusitis treatment options, including balloon sinuplasty. We are here to answer questions like, “Can you have a sinus infection without a fever?” and more.

Whether you need to end all that snoring, repair a deviated septum, or end recurring sinusitis complications, we can help.

Give us a call today at 713-766-1818 or schedule an appointment online.

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