Risk Of Unnecessary Antibiotics For Sinus Infections
Taking unnecessary antibiotics for a sinus infection is not only ineffectual, but can actually be harmful to the patient. Risks of taking unneeded antibiotics include:
- Increased chance of getting an antibiotic-resistant infection at a later time
- Destruction of healthy stomach bacteria, which can allow harmful bacteria to grow
- Possible side effects, such as upset stomach, rash, or dizziness
- Allergic reaction
According to studies conducted by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology , 60-70% of patients with sinus infections fully recover without the use of antibiotics. Additional research shows that almost 90% of U.S. adults diagnosed with acute sinusitis are prescribed antibiotics.
This overuse of antibiotics for sinus infections, as well as other conditions, can lead to antibiotic resistance, a state in which bacteria change over time as a reaction to antibiotic treatment, in order to survive and multiply, thus making the antibiotics less effective.
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Will Sinus Infection Clear On Its Own
Sinusitis often develops after a cold or viral infection. Most sinus infections improve on their own, but sometimes they develop into a bacterial infection swelling, inflammation, and mucus production caused by the cold can lead to blockage in the nasal passages, which may encourage the growth of bacteria.
Some Steps You Can Take
Whether your sinus infection turns out to be viral or bacterial, you can help to ease your symptoms early on with supportive sinus care:
If your symptoms arent improving after one week, its important to see your doctor. If a bacterial infection is suspected, youll probably need to take an antibiotic to clear up the infection and prevent further complications.
If your infections occur more frequently, and your doctor really wants to establish if they are bacterial or viral, your Otolaryngologist or ear, nose and throat doctor can sample the snot from your nose when youre infected and send it to a laboratory to know for sure.
Note: Antibiotics wont help a viral infection, and taking an antibiotic unnecessarily can do more harm than good. You risk possible side effects and increase your chances of developing antibiotic resistance, which can make future infections harder to treat, says Dr. Sindwani. So its important to wait and see how long your symptoms last.
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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.
What Is The Best Natural Antibiotic For Sinus Infection
Natural antibiotic options include antibacterial foods and plant-based remedies that can support the body in fighting the infection. But its important to note that adding antibacterial foods to your meal plan isnt an acceptable solution to clear up the infection. Instead, many patients focus on a combined approach of modern medicine and natural remedies at the same time.
Foods with antibacterial properties include:
- Oregano oil
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Is It How Much Youre Sleeping
Another major reason people get recurrent sinus and other infections is exhaustion.
Often an infection is the bodys way of telling us to slow down.
Have a friend bring you some old-fashioned chicken soup.
Then, force yourself to stay in bed until youre better.
Once youre well again, give yourself a bedtime. And start practicing the good sleep hygiene Dr. Paul Thomas, MD, and I describe in this book.
When Should I Ask My Doctor About A Sinus Infection
As with any other medical condition, it is imperative that you see a doctor if certain worrisome symptoms begin to appear. This is especially true during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While the first hint of sinus pain may not be a reason to head to the doctor, if you have been exposed to others who have tested positive or may be infected with the coronavirus, you should get tested if you begin feeling poorly. Similarly, a bit of nasal decongestion may not be cause for concern, but if you begin experiencing severe shortness of breath, get medical help immediately.
One of the reasons many people do not seek medical attention when they should is uncertainty about when they can get an appointment with their healthcare provider. At TrustCare, our many walk-in clinics are open every day of the week to make sure you can get the care you need without the hassle of making an appointment. If you are experiencing symptoms that seem like more than a bit of nasal congestion, visit one of our TrustCare locations today.
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What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Sinusitis
When you have a sinus infection, you often have to go through your day in pain and in a fog. Sinusitis, or infection of the sinuses, is incredibly common, but many people suffer through it rather than get it treated. At Asthma Allergy Centre in Tigard, McMinnville, or Beaver, OR, we use a variety of sinus management treatments to reduce the inflammation and immune response that are likely behind your sinus problems. Check out on how to get rid of sinusitis.
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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How You Can Treat Sinusitis Yourself
You can often treat mild sinusitis without seeing a GP by:
- getting plenty of rest
- taking painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- avoiding allergic triggers and not smoking
- cleaning your nose with a salt water solution to ease congestion
You do not need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh solution each time you clean your nose.
Home Remedies: Treating Acute Sinusitis Without Antibiotics
QUESTION: I have acute sinusitis, and my health care provider doesn’t think I need antibiotics. Are there nonprescription medications that can help relieve symptoms?
ANSWER: Yes. Over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants may help relieve facial pain and sinus congestion associated with acute sinusitis. Over-the-counter medications that may help include:
- These work by narrowing blood vessels to help reduce inflammation and swelling that cause sinus congestion. Such medications are available in liquids, tablets and nasal sprays.
- Pain relievers.Pain caused by pressure buildup in the sinus cavities may be relieved by aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Always use over-the-counter products as directed. If your child becomes infected, check with his or her health care provider to find out what’s safe.
Home remedies you may want to try:
Most people with acute sinusitis get better without antibiotics. However, if your symptoms are severe or last longer than a few days, talk to your health care provider.
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Whats Happening In My Body
Most sinus infections come from colds that start in the nose.
A lot of sinus infections are caused by coronaviruses.
These viruses replicate in the nose. Your immune system then kicks off an inflammatory response to help kill the virus. This can cause swelling in the sinuses, leading to your symptoms.
Unlike bacterial infections, viral infections dont respond to antibiotics and usually just need to run their course. But you dont have to take it lying down!
Symptoms Of Bacterial Sinusitis In Children
In children, the symptoms of sinusitis may differ from those in adults. Children may experience:
- Scar tissue in sinus areas, for example from nasogastric tubes or mechanical ventilation
- Facial fractures
- Tooth or mouth infections such as a dental abscess
In general, women are slightly more likely than men to get bacterial sinusitis.
If youâve had a cold or any of the disorders listed above, and youâre concerned that you may have bacterial sinusitis, check out the Ada app for a free symptom assessment.
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Things Which May Worsen A Sinus Infection
Lets take a look at what you can remove or eliminate from your diet and environment to both encourage healing and discourage chronic sinusitis or recurrent infections in the future.
Monitoring your symptoms is key to making sure you see treatment when and if it is needed. If you think you may have a sinus infection, consult your doctor or visit an urgent care center.
What Is Bacterial Sinusitis
Bacterial sinusitis is a bacterial infection of the paranasal sinuses, the hollow spaces in the bones of the face around the nose. Sinusitis is a very common problem, affecting approximately one in every eight American adults annually. Almost 30 million people seek medical help for sinusitis in the USA every year.
Bacterial sinusitis involves inflammation of the mucous membrane lining of the sinuses, and is caused by a bacterial infection. There are four pairs of paranasal sinuses which are located below, above, between and behind the eye sockets â the maxillary sinuses, frontal sinuses, ethmoid sinuses and sphenoidal sinuses. The maxillary sinuses are the largest of these, and are most often affected by sinusitis. However, sinusitis can affect any or all of the paranasal sinuses. Because sinusitis often occurs along with rhinitis, inflammation of the mucous membrane in the nose, it is sometimes known as rhinosinusitis.
Bacterial sinusitis often follows a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. Viral infections can cause the mucosal lining of the sinuses to swell. In healthy sinuses, mucus drains into the nasal cavity via small holes, known as ostia. Swelling of the mucus membranes in the nose or sinus cavities can block these holes, preventing mucus from draining out of the sinuses. Bacteria colonize the undrained mucus, which can lead to bacterial sinusitis.
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Treatment For Sinusitis From A Gp
If you have sinusitis, a GP may be able to recommend other medicines to help with your symptoms, such as:
- steroid nasal sprays or drops â to reduce the swelling in your sinuses
- antihistamines â if an allergy is causing your symptoms
- antibiotics â if a bacterial infection is causing your symptoms and youre very unwell or at risk of complications
You might need to take steroid nasal sprays or drops for a few months. They sometimes cause irritation, sore throats or nosebleeds.
A GP may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist if, for example, you:
- still have sinusitis after 3 months of treatment
- keep getting sinusitis
- only have symptoms on 1 side of your face
They may also recommend surgery in some cases.
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How To Prevent Sinusitis
- Drink a lot, whether it is water or juice. More than two liters a day, especially if the symptoms continue.
- Avoid dust or smoke pollutionbecause this further irritates the nasal cavity.
- I prefer humid places, and To wet the room, you can place water or use special equipment.
- Wet your nose with compresses of hot water. Showers are also recommended because the steam helps release the nasal sinuses.
- Do not use too many inhalers because, in the long run, they will be counterproductive.
- Clean your nose well. You can find some products containing water and salt in the pharmacy.
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Treatments For Sinus Infections Other Than Antibiotics
#1: Saline Nasal Wash
Saline nasal wash can be a great way to thin out the mucous in the sinuses enough to clear out the blockage. I recommend starting this early on in the course of the illness to prevent the infection from worsening.
You can even make this at home using 2 cups of water and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I would add a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda to prevent burning that can occur with use. There are also plenty of over the counter saline nasal sprays that you can purchase. You can use this 4-6 times per day.
Vaporizers are great because they can also thin out the mucous and make you feel a lot better. An easy home remedy, steam is probably the best way to use this treatment. Beware if you are an asthmatic as the steam could cause worsening of the asthma symptoms.
#3: Steroid Nasal Spray
Steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase have been my go to remedy recently and the great news is that they are now over the counter. The general recommendation is to use 1-2 sprays per nostril daily.
But I have found great relief using 2 sprays in each nostril twice daily. At these higher doses it is important to remember that you should use this short term, no more than 5-7 days.
These medications can significantly reduce inflammation allowing the congestion blockage to clear and significantly alleviate symptoms.
Guaifenesin such as Mucinex can certainly break up the mucous, allowing the congestion to clear more quickly.
Sinusitis Wont Go Away Consider Balloon Sinuplasty
Whether this is your first bout with sinusitis that wont go away or you experience sinus infections on a regular basis, you should know that getting rid of sinusitis is well within reach.
At Sinus Solutions of South Florida, Dr. Napoleon G. Bequer has provided hundreds of patients with relief from chronic sinusitis using the balloon sinuplasty procedure. So if you have sinusitis that wont go away, contact us online, call us at 561-790-7744, or take our sinus quiz today to see if youre a viable candidate for balloon sinuplasty.
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What You Can Do To Soothe A Cold Or Ear Infection:
- Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce fever and head pressure.
- Try a cool-mist humidifier or shower steam to loosen congestion.
- Try over-the-counter saline drops to clear the nose.
- Consider sinus rinses or devices to remove mucus from young childrens noses.
- For children older than age 1, honey in warm water can soothe a cough.
- For older children, an extra pillow under their head can help them sleep better.
How To Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection Without Antibiotics
This article was medically reviewed by . Dr. Litza is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Wisconsin. She is a practicing Physician and taught as a Clinical Professor for 13 years, after receiving her MD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health in 1998.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 75,464 times.
Sinusitis is an inflammation of paranasal sinuses most commonly due to an infection, underlying allergy or various autoimmune processes. The sinuses are small cavities in the skull that are normally filled with air. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the tissue that lines these cavities. In some cases, the swelling of this tissue blocks off the entry of the sinuses, trapping mucus and air inside them. This can cause pain in the cheeks, runny nose, and headache over the forehead region sometimes, it may lead to a secondary bacterial infection. Acute sinusitis resolves in 4 weeks whereas chronic sinusitis goes beyond 12 weeks and may keep on recurring for years. However, in most cases, sinusitis can be easily treated even without antibiotics.
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