Got A Sinus Infection Antibiotics Probably Won’t Help
Go ahead and blow, but resist the antibiotics for a typical sinus infection.hide caption
Go ahead and blow, but resist the antibiotics for a typical sinus infection.
If you’ve ever had a painful sinus infection, all you want is relief fast!
So off to the doctor you go, and, as often as not, you get a prescription for an antibiotic.
Three days later, you start to feel a little better. “Thank goodness for amoxicillin!” you might say. Well, probably not quite like that, unless you’re a nerdy health blogger, but you’d be saying something nice about getting a prescription from your doctor.
Well, it turns out you might have been just as happy getting nothing but advice to take a little acetaminophen for the pain, some over-the-counter cough medicine, a decongestant and regular spritzes of saline up your nose.
Researchers at Washington University’s med school worked with a bunch of primary care doctors around St. Louis to test whether an antibiotic was any better than a placebo for the treatment of run-of-the-mill sinus infections. Half the patients got amoxicillin and the rest got a sugar pill.
Almost all the 166 people got offered the other remedies to relieve symptoms, and most took advantage of a least some of them. That was true whether they got the antibiotic or not.
“What was surprising was, at Day Three there was no difference,” he says. For patients with bacterial infections, the researchers thought an antibiotic might speed up relief.
When To Take Tylenol For A Sinus Infection
Symptoms of the different strains are so similar that doctors typically recommend patients wait seven to 10 days before seeking treatment. Viral infections the common cold usually work themselves out in that period of time with nothing more than liquids, rest and perhaps Tylenol, Dr. Sindwani says.
Causes For Sinus Infection In Babies
Sinus infection is generally seen after a cold, an allergic inflammation, or upper respiratory infection . However, Mayo Clinics Allergic Diseases Research Laboratory researcher, Dr. David Sherris, says that the cause of chronic sinusitis has not been known so far.
Our studies indicate that fungus is likely the cause of nearly all of these problems. And it is not an allergic reaction, but an immune reaction, Dr. Sherries adds.
According to her team, the primary cause of chronic sinusitis is the reaction of the immune system to fungi. The researchers studied 210 patients and found 40 different kinds of fungi in their mucus .
- Streptococcus pneumonia
- Secondhand smoking
- Foreign objects stuck in the nose
Pediatric sinusitis cannot be diagnosed easily at home as the symptoms are general and often overlap with the symptoms of common cold and allergy. Thus, to get the right diagnosis, prompt pediatric consultation is necessary.
What The Treatment For Sinus Infections
In order to eradicate the infection, youll need an antibiotic.
Some people continue to experience a lingering sinus infection even after antibiotics. Sinuses are considered a closed cavity. Removing infection from a closed cavity can require more prolonged antibiotic usage compared to infections that occur in an open cavity .
A sinus infection might require 2-4 weeks of antibiotics plus additional methods to encourage drainage of the sinuses. For a sinus infection to clear completely, we often recommend saline sprays, topical steroid sprays , and decongestants in addition to an antibiotic.
When Does Antibiotic Resistance Occur
Antibiotic resistance occurs in a persons own body and within the community when certain drugs no longer work for a specific type of germ. This can occur when bacteria change in response to exposure to antibiotics so that the antibiotics no longer work efficiently against the bacteria.
Therefore, allergists and other specialists recommend limiting the use of antibiotics unless:
- Symptoms last over seven to 10 days
- Specific symptoms are present
- A fever is present
You May Like: How To Get Over A Sinus Infection Quickly
Sore Throat And Hoarse Voice
Postnasal drip can leave you with a raw and aching throat. Although it may start as an annoying tickle, it can get worse.
If your infection lasts for a few weeks or more, mucus can irritate and inflame your throat as it drips, resulting in a painful sore throat and hoarse voice. Frequent coughing and throat clearing can make a hoarse voice worse.
When Do We Need Antibiotics For Sinus Infection
Antibiotics are not needed for many sinus infections, but your doctor can decide if you need an antibiotic. You doctor may recommend antibiotics if:
Most sinus infections usually get better on their own without antibiotics. When antibiotics arent needed, they wont help you, and their side effects could still cause harm. Side effects can range from minor issues, like a rash, to very serious health problems, such as antibiotic-resistant infections and C. diff infection, which causes diarrhea that can lead to severe colon damage and death.
Read Also: How Long Does Sinus Surgery Take
Can Sinus Infections Or Sinusitis Be Prevented
Currently, there are no vaccines designed specifically against infectious sinusitis or sinus infections. However, there are vaccines against viruses and bacteria that may cause some infectious sinusitis. Vaccination against pathogens known to cause infectious sinusitis may indirectly reduce or prevent the chance of getting the disease however, no specific studies support this assumption. Fungal vaccines against sinusitis are not available, currently.
If you are prone to recurrent bouts of a “yearly sinus infection” it may be important to consider allergy testing to see if this is the underlying cause of the recurring problem. Treatment of the allergy may prevent secondary bacterial sinus infections. In addition, sinus infections may be due to other problems such as nasal polyps, tumors, or diseases that obstruct normal mucus flow. Treatment of these underlying causes may prevent recurrent sinus infections.
How Is Sinus Infection Diagnosed
Diagnosis depends on symptoms and requires an examination of the throat, nose and sinuses. Your allergist will look for:
- Discolored nasal discharge
- Bad Breath
If your sinus infection lasts longer than eight weeks, or if standard antibiotic treatment is not working, a sinus CT scan may help your allergist diagnose the problem. Your allergist may examine your nose or sinus openings. The exam uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light at one end that is inserted through the nose. It is not painful. Your allergist may give you a light anesthetic nasal spray to make you more comfortable.
Mucus cultures: If your sinus infection is chronic or has not improved after several rounds of antibiotics, a mucus culture may help to determine what is causing the infection. Most mucus samples are taken from the nose. However, it is sometimes necessary to get mucus directly from the sinuses.
Knowing what kind of bacteria is causing the infection can lead to more effective antibiotic therapy. A fungus could also cause your sinus infection. Confirming the presence of fungus is important. Fungal sinus infection needs to be treated with antifungal agents, rather than antibiotics. In addition, some forms of fungal sinus infection allergic fungal sinus infection, for example do not respond to antifungal agents and often require the use of oral steroids.
How Does Steroid Shot Help Sinusitis And How To Use It
Sinusitis is a painful condition that affects the tissues in the lining of your sinus cavities. It can be very uncomfortable with symptoms of pressure, headaches, facial pain, and stuffiness. Steroid shots are used when home remedies and antibiotics do not work. They can quickly reduce severe inflammation to help your body heal and recover. The effects of one shot are “short-term” and side-effects minimal with only one injection. Read on to see when the doctor may use this treatment, side-effects to watch out for, and other home remedies that may bring you quick relief.
More Choices For Sinus Infections
You May Like: What Is Good To Take For Sinus Pressure
When To Visit An Ent
You may opt to visit an ENT if your sinus infection symptoms last more than one month. However, when a lingering sinus infection after antibiotics lasts more than 12 weeks, its definitely time to see a specialist.
If your doctor has treated you with antibiotics, saline, steroid sprays, antihistamines, and decongestants and youre still not better, youve entered into a confusing area. You need a thorough exam of your sinus pathways with a fiberoptic scope and a CT scan to properly diagnose the problem.
If at any point youre not sure whats going on and your primary care doctor isnt sure whats causing the symptoms, see an ENT for a more specialized exam.
Is It Covid Or A Sinus Infection
The COVID pandemic has killed more than one million people around the globe. With the fall ushering in traditional influenza season, medical professionals express concern that the outbreaks will continue for the foreseeable future. Protecting yourself is of the utmost importance. One way to do this is to understand the differences between COVID-19 and the common sinus infection.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the symptoms for COVID-19 appear two to 14-days after youve been exposed to the virus. The symptoms could be mild or severe depending on factors that were still trying to understand. They may include:
- Body aches
- Postnasal drip
- Tooth pain
Craig P. Chase, M.D., a partner of Oviedo Medical Research, says, For sinus infections versus COVID-19, sinus infections are usually something that youve had for a while. It could start with allergies, it could start with a cold, and then kind of evolve into a sinus infection.
Also Check: Sudafed Sinus Congestion 30 Mg
What Are The Most Common Antibiotics Used For Sinusitis
Amoxicillin remains the drug of choice for acute, uncomplicated bacterial sinusitis. Amoxicillin is most effective when given frequently enough to sustain adequate levels in the infected tissue. While often prescribed twice daily, it is even more effective if taken in 3 or 4 divided doses. Amoxicillin is typically prescribed for 7-10 days at a time. While it is critical to finish the entire 10 day course of antibiotics when treating strep throat, there is evidence that shorter courses of treatment may be sufficient for most cases of sinusitis. Amoxicillin is closely related to the parent compound penicillin and should not be prescribed in patients who are penicillin allergic.
Cephalosporins and Augmentin are considered broad-spectrum antibiotics because they have enhanced effectiveness against a wider range of bacteria, including those that are resistant to ordinary penicillin or amoxicillin. If the patient does not improve within the first week on amoxicillin, a change to Augmentin or to a cephalosporin such as Ceftin, Cefzil, Omnicef, or Suprax is reasonable. Although these drugs have a similar mechanism of action to penicillin, they generally can be taken in adequate doses once or twice daily. These medications should be used with extreme caution in patients with a history of penicillin allergy, as cross-reaction may occur.
Will Sinus Infections Resolve If Left Untreated
Lingering sinus infections should be treated before they escalate into a more serious issue. If a sinus infection is untreated, it may begin to impact the surrounding areas: the eyes and brain.
Untreated sinus infections can result in orbital and intracranial complications. Orbital refers to an infection that moves from the sinus into the eye. It can even result in an abscess in the eye area, which threatens vision.
Intracranial infections refer to infection in the brain. These can ultimately progress to become a brain abscess or meningitis if left untreated.
Because the sinuses are located close to the eye and brain, the most serious complications of an untreated sinus infection affect these important structures.
Also Check: Buy Advil Cold And Sinus
How Long Does A Sinus Infection Last
Sinus infections can last several days. Viral sinus infections are usually most severe three to six days after they start, and then begin to improve by day 10. A viral sinus infection can develop into a bacterial infection, which typically lasts longer than 10 days. Patients will usually respond to antibiotics within two to three days after a bacterial sinus infection is diagnosed and treated. After that, sinus infections can resolve anywhere between seven and 14 days.
There are three types of sinusitis. All three are based on length of symptoms:
How Long Do Antibiotics Take To Work On Sinus Infections
Often, sinus infections are treated with antibiotics. However, your doctor will determine the best treatment based on the root cause of your sinus infection. If antibiotics are prescribed, you may want to know how long it will be before you start to experience relief from symptoms.
Read on to find out how sinus infections are diagnosed, when your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, and how long it will take antibiotics to take effect.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Sinus Pressure Migraine
What Are The Six Types Of Sinusitis And Sinus Infections
Sinusitis may be classified in several ways, based on its duration and the type of inflammation . The term rhinosinusitis is used to imply that both the nose and sinuses are involved and is becoming the preferred term over sinusitis.
- Acute sinus infection usually lasts less than 3-5 days.
- Subacute sinus infection lasts one to three months.
- Chronic sinus infection is greater than three months. Chronic sinusitis may be further sub-classified into chronic sinusitis with or without nasal polyps, or allergic fungal sinusitis.
- Recurrent sinusitis has several sinusitis attacks every year.
There is no medical consensus on the above time periods.
- Infected sinusitis usually is caused by an uncomplicated virus infection. Less frequently, bacterial growth causes sinus infection and fungal sinus infection is very infrequent. Subacute and chronic forms of a sinus infection usually are the result of incomplete treatment of an acute sinus infection.
- Noninfectious sinusitis is caused by irritants and allergic conditions and follows the same general timeline for acute, subacute, and chronic as infectious sinusitis.
Treatments For Sinus Infection
How long does sinusitis last? Acute sinus infections are the most common form of infection, usually lasting no more than a few weeks.
Can you get rid of a sinus infection without antibiotics? While many people immediately assume that antibiotics are necessary for sinus infections, most cases of acute sinus infection are caused by a virus.
Viruses are not affected by antibiotics. Even acute sinus infections caused by bacteria dont necessarily require antibiotics. Instead, your immune system will usually neutralize the virus within a couple of weeks. Antibiotics may only cause side effects that weaken your body, including:
- Skin rash
- Fungal infections
While your doctor wont usually prescribe antibiotics for minor cases of acute sinus infection, antibiotics may be necessary if:
- You exhibit severe symptoms or feel exceptionally unwell
- You have a weakened immune system, heart problems, or another disorder, such as cystic fibrosis
- Your symptoms are not going away or getting better after a week
- Your symptoms are getting worse
Also Check: Medicine For Sinus Infection Otc
Common Antibiotics Sinus Infection
If your acute sinus infection is caused by bacteria and severe enough, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics based on the bacteria youre suffering from. Most bacterial sinus infections are caused by:
- Streptococcus pneumoniae
Even if your symptoms improve after a few days, make sure you take the full course of antibiotics to ensure that the bacteria is completely eliminated from your system as you may still be contagious. Most courses take a minimum of 10 to 14 days, though some sinus infections may require 14 to 21 days of antibiotic treatment. Along with neutralizing bacteria, many of these antibiotics are thought to reduce inflammation.
Signs And Symptoms Of Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis