(WECT) - It's tough to stay healthy during the cold winter months, so as soon as you feel yourself getting under the weather seek help from a professional.
Diagnosing yourself could be doing more harm than good.
48-year-old Garyl Hester went to the doctor thinking he had a sinus infection, but was wrong.
"Couldn't get rid of it [the infection], couldn't shake it," said Hester. "So, he went and he tested me, and found out that I was allergic to dust mites, which I never knew before."
Understanding what illness you have is important in figuring out how to treat it and how to get rid of it.
"Now I have an air purifier, I keep my room clean, I got the hypoallergenic sheets, and I have not had one problem since I've been seeing Dr. Field," said Hester.
Dr. Jonathan Field said most patients get confused and often don't know what type of illness they are dealing with.
"If they have a fever, if the headache tends to be more extreme, if they lost their taste of smell, it's sounds to me to be more of a sinus infection," said Field.
If you're prone to sinus infections, try an irrigation rinse to prevent them. If you get them a lot, get tested for allergies.
Many colds and sinus infections are triggered by indoor allergies such as dust, mold, and pet dander.
Cold symptoms shouldn't last more than a week and taking zinc at the onset of a cold can also decrease the severity of symptoms and the duration of illness.