Can an ENT help differentiate coronavirus from a sinus infection?

While I always recommend patients coordinate care with their primary physicians, ENTs are specialists of the upper airway, which is where COVID-19 often presents itself. In light of long wait times at urgent care centers and primary offices, some ENT’s are willing to help perform coronavirus screening via online visits.

Indeed, many symptoms of a sinus infection mimic those of coronavirus. Both a sinus infection and coronavirus can lead to symptoms of cough, runny nose, fever, and fatigue. An ENT may be able to help differentiate between the two or suggest potential treatment options depending on your symptoms, or help determine when coronavirus testing may be needed.

One interesting symptom of the coronavirus is that there are emerging reports (that have not been fully verified) of a loss of taste or smell associated with the virus. In general, most patients with loss of taste or smell will be referred to an ENT, so many ENTs are already treating or seeing coronavirus patients. I recommend you call your ENT’s office first to discuss, and this would be a perfect question for a telemedical or telehealth visit.

Currently, there are no at-home testing options for COVID-19, however, in the next few weeks, there may be at-home test kits available.

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