When Do You Really Need Antibiotics For That Sinus Infection
- By Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributor
It was February, and clinic was teeming with respiratory infections of all kinds: mostly the common cold, but also bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinus infections. The patients were coming in usually thinking that they needed antibiotics for their sinus infection, or another respiratory infection.The first patient on my schedule was a healthcare provider with sinus infection written down as her main issue.* Shed had about two weeks of nasal and sinus congestion which she blamed on a viral upper respiratory infection . Her two young kids had been sick with colds all winter, so she wasnt surprised to have these symptoms, along with endless postnasal drip and a cough.
Her congestion had improved a bit at one point, and she thought that she was finally getting better. But then, the day before her appointment, she awoke with throbbing pain between her eyes, completely blocked nasal passages, and, more concerning to her, green pus oozing from her left tear duct. She had body aches, chills, and extreme fatigue. Do I maybe need antibiotics? she asked.
Ocean Saline Nasal Spray
When it comes to simplicity and safety, Ocean Saline Nasal Spray is a hard one to beat. This product incorporates very few components and uses salt as its major active ingredient. It draws out the mucus and dislodges accumulated phlegm to clear out the airways.
Ocean Saline Nasal Spray is highly effective, giving instant relief for both adults and children who use the solution. The only issue some users have with the product is that relief duration may vary, especially depending on the extent of congestion.
Alkalol Company Mucus Solvent And Cleaner
This all-natural product has been widely regarded as the best over the counter medicine for sinus infection, based on consumer reviews. Alkalol Natural Soothing Nasal Wash Mucus Solvent and Cleaner is a powerful however very gentle solution that works tough to remove mucus, but soothes the nasal tissues to reduce irritation and discomfort.
The mixture menthol, eucalyptol, spearmint, pine, and cinnamon packs a powerful minty punch that leaves the sinuses clear and free from congestion for hours on end. Whats more, the all natural solution causes zero side-effects, making it the best sinus medicine ever for little children.
All in all, Alkalol Natural Soothing Nasal Wash Mucus Solvent and Cleaner is a straightforward, safe, and effective product that gets the job done. So if you want a sinus infection remedy that can ease your discomfort at a reasonable price, this is the option for you.
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When To Take Antibioticsand When Other Treatments May Work Better
If youve been knocked out by sinus infection symptomsstuffiness, face pain or pressure, nasal dischargeyour doctor might recommend that you wait it out for a week or so before resorting to an antibiotic. And she or he might be right: Antibiotics are often not necessary for clearing up a sinus infection, according to recent research.
As a result, many health experts, including Zara Patel, M.D., a sinus infection expert and assistant professor of otolaryngology at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., are urging doctors to think twice before prescribing antibiotics for sinus and other respiratory infections.
A 2016 study, published in JAMA, found that people who went to the doctor with a sinus infection were more likely to leave with a prescription for antibiotics than people seeing the doctor for any other reason . But some doctors, pointing to newer evidence, are starting to take a more cautious approach.
For acute sinusitis, there are very well-done studies indicating that antibiotics are not necessary in the vast majority of patients, and most people will be able to clear an infection on their own, Patel says.
Things To Know About A Sinus Infection
- Sinusitis or sinus infection is inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose.
- Sinusitis can be caused by infection, allergies, and chemical or particulate irritation of the sinuses.
- The fastest way to get rid of a sinus infection can include medications, home remedies, alternative therapies, and surgery.
- Most people do not spread sinus infections to other people.
- Sinusitis may be classified as acute sinus infection, subacute sinus infection, chronic sinus infection, infected sinusitis, and noninfectious sinusitis.
- Sinusitis signs and symptoms include
- cloudy discolored nasal or postnasal drainage,
- the feeling of nasal stuffiness,
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When Does A Sinus Infection Require Urgent Care
While a minor sinus infection does not require a trip to urgent care or indicate a reason for significant concern, a more severe sinus infection in which the symptoms become intolerable or last for an extended amount of time may need medical assistance for the underlying cause of the sinus infection to be appropriately treated.
During a sinus infection, it is essential to keep an eye on the symptoms and come in for a visit to our urgent care facility in the event the symptoms become intolerable or no sign of improvement is noticed after more than a week. At our urgent care facility, we can efficiently and effectively diagnose and treat the underlying cause of your sinus infection.
While prevention is the best way to handle a sinus infection, it is not always possible to prevent, especially when caused by the common cold. Therefore, it is essential to know exactly what to do if a sinus infection develops.
If you or your child develop a sinus infection that becomes concerning for any reasons, do not hesitate to come in for a visit or give us a call to find out the next step to take. There is no appointment needed, and we promise you quick and effective care here at our urgent care facility.
Questions to Ask Your Urgent Care Provider
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Is Your Sinus Infection Acute Or Chronic
A short-term sinus infection is often referred to as acute sinusitis. Most cases of acute sinusitis last about a week, but this type of short-term sinus infection can last up to four weeks. If you suffer from a sinus infection that lasts longer than 12 weeks despite treatment from your doctor, its considered chronic sinusitis.
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Sinus Infection Medication For Viral Causes
Viral sinus infections are usually a symptom of the common cold or other viruses. When these viruses take a toll on your body, they sometimes spread to your sinuses and cause inflammation over time.
While you may be able to fend off a full-blown sinus infection with over-the-counter solutions, once youre at a certain point of inflammation, you might require stronger meds that only a doctor can prescribe.
What Is Sinus Infection
Medically known as rhinosinusitis, Sinus infection or Sinusitis is an inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses. Healthy sinuses are filled with air. But when they become blocked and filled with fluid, germs can grow and cause an infection. It occurs when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen, and inflamed. Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus and often persists even after other upper respiratory symptoms are gone. In some cases, bacteria, or rarely fungus, may cause a sinus infection.
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Common Causes Of Sinus Infection
Sinus infections are caused by either viruses or bacteria, but they can be caused by fungi as well. Although is a very common condition, some people are at higher risk of developing the infection. They include people who:
Have abnormalities in the nasal passages, such as or a deformity
Have a weakened immune system
If You Think You Have A Sinus Infection
If you feel you are experiencing sinus infection symptoms, make an appointment with your PartnerMD physician, and do not attempt to treat symptoms on your own. While you may initially be recommended OTC treatments, only your doctor can accurately diagnose your symptoms, and prescribe the right treatment for relief.
Have a question about your sinus infection symptoms? Contact us today to see if a relationship with a concierge doctor could be beneficial.
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Is It Safe To Take Sinus Decongestants While Pregnant
It depends on the active ingredient. OTC pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine should only be used during pregnancy under your doctors supervision. They should not be used during the first trimester, only after, and even then, only with your doctors recommendation.
Talk with your doctor before using drugs containing these ingredients if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Research in animals has shown adverse effects on the fetus when the mother takes these drugs. There havent been enough studies with humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus. These drugs should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk.
But Sometimes Antibiotics For Sinus Infections Are Needed
So how does one judge when it is appropriate to prescribe antibiotics for a sinus infection? There are several sets of official guidelines, which are all similar. When a patient has thick, colorful nasal discharge and/or facial pressure or pain for at least 10 days, they meet criteria for antibiotic treatment. If a patient has had those symptoms, but the symptoms seemed to start improving and then got worse again, then even if its been less than 10 days, they meet criteria for antibiotic treatment.
The authors, however, also suggest that doctors discuss watchful waiting with patients and explain that most sinus infections clear up on their own in one to two weeks, and its a safe option to hold off on antibiotics. The symptoms can then be treated with a cocktail of over-the-counter medications and supportive care, like nasal saline irrigation, nasal steroid sprays, decongestants, and pain medications.
Of course, many patients expect and demand antibiotics for sinus infections, and even those who are open to watchful waiting may hear about the rare but possible complications of things like, oh, brain abscess, and opt to treat.
In the case of my patient above, she met criteria for treatment. She weighed the watchful waiting option against the potential risks of antibiotics for her sinus infection, and chose the prescription. I can tell you from very close follow-up that she improved quickly, though in truth, we will never really know if she would have gotten better anyway.
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What Can I Expect
- Our online assessment will help determine if you are a good candidate for treatment
- You may be prescribed an antibiotic and/or other medications
- Sometimes, based on your symptoms, it may be recommended that antibiotics be used in a delayed fashion, if needed.
- Just answer a few questions to get started with your online visit
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What Causes A Sinus Infection
In most cases, acute sinusitis is caused by a bacterial or viral infection, which means it usually develops after youve had a cold or the flu. Its possible for an acute sinus infection to develop into a chronic infection over time. However, most chronic sinus infections are caused by:
- Problems with the physical structure of your sinuses such as nasal polyps, narrow sinuses, or a deviated septum
- Allergies such as hay fever that cause inflammation
Certain health conditions are also known to accompany chronic sinusitis. These include:
- Primary immune deficiency disesase
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Ayr Saline Nasal Gel With Soothing Aloe
For buyers looking for something that doesnt have too much of a menthol scent, Ayr Saline Nasal Gel with Soothing Aloe is the best over the counter medicine for a sinus infection. This natural product incorporates a high concentration of aloe, which works well to soothe irritated nasal tissues to help relieve discomfort.
What many users love about Ayr Saline Nasal Gel with Soothing Aloe is that its long-lasting and easy to use. A single application around the nasal cavity and nostrils can provide lasting relief for up to 6 hours, making it the ideal solution for those who do not want to keep applying throughout the day. It is also ideal for use before bedtime, working well to keep the sinuses clear while you snooze.
What Are The Best Antibiotics For Sinus Infection Do Doctors Prescribe For You
There are many antibiotics that your doctor or physician may prescribe to help treat your sinus infection. Some of these may even be familiar to you.
These antibiotics are effective in treating sinus infection, however, these drugs do carry side effects. You should only be taken according to what your doctor or physician has prescribed. Always follow their instructions to achieve the best results.
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When To Seek Medical Care
See a doctor if you have:
- Severe symptoms, such as severe headache or facial pain.
- Symptoms that get worse after improving.
- Symptoms lasting more than 10 days without getting better.
- Fever longer than 3-4 days.
You should also seek medical care if you have had multiple sinus infections in the past year.
This list is not all-inclusive. Please see a doctor for any symptom that is severe or concerning.
Other conditions can cause symptoms similar to a sinus infection, including:
- Seasonal allergies
Aromatic Salt Premium Ceramic Neti Pot
Richard Nass, MD, a Manhattan-based ear, nose, and throat doctor and clinical associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine, says he likes to use a neti pot, like this one, to irrigate the sinuses. This ceramic version allows you to rinse your nose with sterilized water and saltor a saline solutionfor relief from stuffiness.
If you opt for a neti pot, just make sure you’re using distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water, says the FDAthat means no tap water allowed. And always clean it well between each use .
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Best Medicines For Sinus Pressure 2020
If you are experiencing increased sinus pressure, it is possible that youre feeling significant pain around different areas of your face: this is most likely caused by an accumulation of mucus, which results in a congested sinus. Not only is it painful, but it also makes it difficult for you to go about your daily routine.
Fortunately, there isnt a need for us to simply soldier through the discomfort because of the sheer number of different treatments available for sinus pressure. However, it is not uncommon for people to accidentally delay relief as a cause of purchasing the wrong products when in the drugstore.
Prevent the expensive episode of trial and error and make sure to buy the best medicine for sinus pressure that works by checking out this buying guide.
Which Antibiotics Are Most Effective For Bacterial Sinusitis
Antibiotics are indicated for sinusitis that is thought to be bacterial, including sinusitis that is severe or involves the frontal, ethmoid, or sphenoid sinuses, since this type of sinusitis is more prone to complications. Penicillins, cephalosporins, and macrolides seem to be equally efficacious. A 5- to 10-day regimen of amoxicillin 500 mg 3 times a day is recommended as first-line therapy.
One study suggests that a single dose of 2 g of extended-release azithromycin may be more effective than a 10-day course of amoxicillin/clavulanate. However, azithromycin is not likely a good choice in sinusitis because symptoms may improve only because of the anti-inflammatory efficacy of the agent and because it has poor efficacy against S pneumoniae and H influenzae. The risk of adverse effects should be weighed against the severity of disease and patient comorbidities prior to initiating antibiotic treatment.
Patterns of bacterial resistance should also be taken into account in the choice of antibiotic.
Lucas JW, Schiller JS, Benson V. Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2001. Vital Health Stat 10. 2004 Jan. 1-134. .
Slavin RG, Spector SL, Bernstein IL, Kaliner MA, Kennedy DW, Virant FS, et al. The diagnosis and management of sinusitis: a practice parameter update. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Dec. 116:S13-47. . .
Lusk RP, Stankiewicz JA. Pediatric rhinosinusitis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997 Sep. 117:S53-7. .
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Should You Visit A Specialist
If your sinus infection just wont go away or keeps coming back, it may be time to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. An ENT treats conditions of the ear, nose, throat, head, face, and neck. It may be time to see an ENT if:
- Youve completed several courses of antibiotics without success
- Your doctor suspects nasal polyps or another blockage of the nasal cavity
- You have chronic sinusitis that lasts longer than 12 weeks
Living with a sinus infection is miserable and living with a sinus infection for weeks on end is worse. Contact your doctor or an ENT to get the treatment you need.