Sunday, November 27, 2022

Should I Get Antibiotics For A Sinus Infection

Will My Sinus Infection Clear Up On Its Own

Do Antibiotics Help With Sinus Infections?

The first few weeks of the common cold arent fun, but the acute sinusitis that can pop up afterwards doesnt help either. Sinus congestion and the common cold, unfortunately, go hand in hand. Acute sinusitis frequently is caused by the common cold, but also can be caused by allergies and bacterial and fungal infections.

Sinus infections are caused when the cavities around your nasal passages become inflamed and swollen, which eventually interferes with drainage and causes mucus to build up. This tends to get annoying, because it makes breathing through the nose difficult. It also affects the area around your eyes and face, and can cause a throbbing headache.

When a sinus infection hits, its always worse than what you remembered from the last time you had one. This may give you the idea that you need antibiotics, but most clear up without them. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses and arent recommended within the first week of developing a cold. About 70 percent of sinus infections go away within two weeks without antibiotics.

Consider these other forms of treatments instead of antibiotics:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers. Aspirins, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve temporary pain.
  • Saline nasal spray. This is used to spray into your nose several times a day to rinse your nasal passages. They can help to prevent and treat inflammation.

Antibiotics only will be needed if the infection is severe, recurrent or persistent.

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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.

Additional resources:

Ease Decongestion With Over

You can use nasal sprays that contain phenylephrine or oxymetazoline to treat your sinusitis symptoms but pay attention to the instructions. When used too often, these medications can cause irritation and dependence.

For some people, nasal decongestants with phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine can reduce symptoms. These medications do have cardiovascular side effects. If you have high blood pressure, heart problems, or feel jittery and have trouble sleeping after using decongestants, talk to your doctor. They may recommend alternatives.

Read Also: Why Is My Sinus Pressure So Bad

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
  • Boil a pint of water, then leave it to cool.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda into the water.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Stand over a sink, cup the palm of 1 hand and pour a small amount of the solution into it.
  • Sniff the water into 1 nostril at a time. Breathe through your mouth and allow the water to pour back into the sink. Try not to let the water go down the back of your throat.
  • Repeat the first 5 steps up to 3 times a day until your nose feels more comfortable.
  • You do not need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh solution each time you clean your nose.

    Is Your Sinus Infection Caused By A Virus Or Bacteria

    What Can I Take For A Sinus Infection

    Physicians may not know if sinusitis is bacterial or viral, because the diagnosis is typically done by observing symptoms. Symptoms include:

    • Nasal congestion
    • Headache
    • Thick nasal or post-nasal drainage

    Sometimes other tests such as computed tomography scan or cultures are used to help make the diagnosis.

    Despite the recommendations that antibiotic use be judicious, they are still overused for sinusitis, according to many physicians who specialize in treating sinus problems.

    Some physicians say they give patients with sinusitis a prescription for antibiotics, and recommend they wait three to five days before filling it, and only fill it if symptoms are not better by then. A can be used to help relieve your symptoms and promote drainage.

    The longer symptoms last, the more likely a sinus problem is to be a bacterial infection, some experts say.

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    Do Antibiotics Benefit Any Subgroups

    The investigators also analyzed the prognostic value of specific signs and symptoms to answer the question: Is there any subgroup of patients who might benefit more from antibiotic treatment?

    Duration. Patients with a longer duration of symptoms, more severe symptoms, or increased age took longer to cure, but were no more likely to benefit from antibiotic treatment than other patients.

    Symptoms, such as a previous common cold, pain on bending, unilateral facial pain, tooth pain, and purulent nasal discharge did not have any prognostic value.

    Only one signpurulent discharge noted in the pharynx on examinationwas associated with a higher likelihood of benefit from treatment with antibiotics, but the NNT was still 8 in this group. Patients with symptoms for 7 days or longer were no more likely to respond to antibiotics than those with symptoms for fewer than 7 days.

    Research Into Antibiotics And Sinus Infections

    The guidelines were triggered, in part, by studies finding that antibiotics may not make a difference. About 60% to 70% of people with sinus infections recover without antibiotics, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

    In one study of symptom relief, patients given antibiotics generally did no better than patients not given antibiotics.

    This study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, observed 240 patients with sinusitis. They were given one of four treatments: antibiotics alone, nasal steroid spray alone to reduce tissue swelling, both antibiotics and the spray, or no treatment.

    Patients who got no treatment were as likely to get better than those who got the antibiotics. The nasal spray seemed to help people with less severe symptoms at the beginning of their sinus problem, and seemed to make those with more intense congestion worse.

    The patients all had sinus symptoms that suggested a bacterial infection. Sinus problems are also caused by viruses, for which antibiotics definitely offer no help.

    Also Check: Sore Throat And Sinus Remedies

    Common Antibiotics For Sinus Infections

    Antibiotics may be prescribed when symptoms of a sinus infection warrant such treatment. Common antibiotics for sinus infection include:

    • Zithromax
    • Levaquin : Although this drug is often prescribed as a first line of therapy for sinusitis, it has serious side effects and should only be used as a last resort.

    Sinus Infection Treatment Timeline With Antibiotics

    Is It a Sinus Infection?

    Our sinuses are hard to reach, so it can be two to three days before antibiotic treatment begins to take effect.

    It is critical to continue the whole course of antibiotics, even if you start to feel better. If you dont finish the whole course, your body could begin to build a resistance to those antibiotics. This makes future treatment more difficult.

    Sometimes, patients experience negative side effects while taking antibiotics. If you experience rash, hives or have difficulty breathing while taking antibiotics, call your doctor immediately. You may be experiencing an allergic reaction. In older adults, some types of antibiotics may cause inflammation in tendons.

    In addition to clearing your sinuses of infection, antibiotics also work in other parts of your body, particularly the gut. This could cause diarrhea, so you may want to take a probiotic as well.

    Read Also: How Did I Get A Sinus Infection

    How Long Does A Sinus Infection Last Over The Counter

    Also, some of my patients spray nasal decongestants, like Afrin. But if used for more than three days, these over-the-counter medicines can cause more sinus swelling. Viral sinusitis should resolve in less than 10 days. But if the sickness is linked to allergies or bacterial infection, symptoms can last longer.

    Will A Bacterial Sinus Infection Go Away On Its Own

    It usually lasts for 4 weeks or less, and the symptoms often begin to clear up within a week without any treatment. Acute sinusitis caused by a bacterial infection is less likely to clear up on its own and may lead to chronic sinusitis or to complications in which the infection spreads beyond the sinuses.

    Read Also: Does Nasal Spray Help With Sinus Pressure

    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.

    Treating Sinus Infections: Dont Rush To Antibiotics

    The Fastest Way to get a Prescription for a Sinus ...

    Millions of people are prescribed antibiotics each year for sinus infections, a frequent complication of the common cold, hay fever, and other respiratory allergies. In fact, 15 to 21 percent of all antibiotic prescriptions for adults in outpatient care are for treating sinus infections. Unfortunately, most of those people dont need the drugs. Heres why:

    The drugs usually dont help.

    Sinus infections can be painful. People with the condition usually have a stuffy nose combined with yellow, green, or gray nasal discharge plus pain or pressure around the eyes, cheeks, forehead, or teeth that worsens when they bend over. But sinus infections almost always stem from a viral infection, not a bacterial oneand antibiotics dont work against viruses. Even when bacteria are the cause, the infections often clear up on their own in a week or so. And antibiotics dont help ease allergies, either.

    They can pose risks.

    About one in four people who take antibiotics have side effects, such as stomach problems, dizziness, or rashes. Those problems clear up soon after stopping the drugs, but in rare cases antibiotics can cause severe allergic reactions. Overuse of antibiotics also promotes the growth of bacteria that cant be controlled easily with drugs. That makes you more vulnerable to antibiotic-resistant infections and undermines the good that antibiotics can do for others.

    So when are antibiotics necessary?

    How should you treat sinus infections?

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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 you’re 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.

    Should You Treat A Sinus Infection With Antibiotics

    Over the past few months Ive seen patient after patient drag themselves to the clinic with coughing, sneezing, headaches and green or yellow nasal discharge, sometimes accompanied by ear and tooth pain. Some people with infection may experience fevers, chills or night sweats signs that the body is fighting a virus or bacteria. These are symptoms I expect as a primary care doctor especially during the spring seasons. They are the telltale signs of sinusitis. But if that sums up symptoms you have, do you need antibiotics? The question may be more complicated than you think.

    Each year, more than 30 million Americans endure sinusitis an inflammation of sinus spaces surrounding the nose that makes it difficult to drain fluid that normally flows through the sinuses. Much like a detective weighing clues, us health providers use symptom severity and duration to determine the cause of a patients sickness.

    The World Health Organization has called antibiotic resistance one of the biggest threats to global health, saying misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.

    At a health professionals discretion, antibiotics can be prescribed if a person appears very sick or has any underlying chronic disease that may make them prone to becoming sicker.

    Recommended Reading: Advil Cold And Sinus Relief

    How To Get Rid Of Sinus Infections In 24 Hours

    If you are one of the millions of Americans that battle frequent or long-term sinus infections and are seeking a sinusitis treatment that does not involve risky surgery, there is good news sinusitis treatment is available. Balloon Sinuplasty is a safe and minimally invasive solution for long-lasting relief from sinus infection causes.

    This safe and simple sinus infection treatment can be done in the comfort of the office with our Board Certified Otolaryngologist, Dr. Brian Lee. The procedure gently inflates the sinus cavity to clear the blockage and restore the natural flow from the body. If you would like to know more about balloon sinuplasty and how to cure sinus infections permanently, schedule your appointment today and start your journey toward real and lasting sinus infection relief.

    When Are Antibiotics Prescribed For A Sinus Infection

    Natural Antibiotics for Sinus Infection Sinusitis Works! See US GOV Proof on Website

    Your doctor will consider antibiotic treatment if you do not see relief from these initial treatments. If you develop a fever, or tenderness and pain in your teeth, you may be experiencing symptoms of a bacterial sinus infection.

    Not all antibiotics are effective for treatment of bacterial sinus infections, so your doctor will look at your medical history and current symptoms to determine the best antibiotic treatment.

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    When To Consider Antibiotics For Sinus Infections

    AAAAI advises that antibiotics for sinus infections should be considered only if you develop a fever of 102° F or higher, you have severe face pain and tenderness, your symptoms last longer than a week or so, or your symptoms improve and then worsen again.

    Some patients with acute sinusitis do need antibiotics, and if they continue with a worsening infection without treatment, they can suffer dramatic complications such as loss of vision, meningitis, or brain abscess, Patel says.

    If your doctor says you need an antibiotic, ask for generic amoxicillin/clavulanate, according to guidelines from UpToDate, which provides evidence-based treatment information to healthcare providers. Its usually the best choice and works as well as more expensive brand-name antibiotics.

    Avoid taking fluoroquinolones, a group of antibiotics that includes ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin . Although widely used, the antibiotics are inappropriate for treating sinus infections and they pose serious risks.

    In 2016, after a safety review, the Food and Drug Administration linked fluoroquinolones to disabling and potentially permanent side effects. The agency advised against using the drugs to treat common illnessesbronchitis, sinus infections, and urinary tract infections.

    Whats New: Realistic Evidence From Realistic Settings

    We believe this meta-analysis provides a high level of evidence against routine treatment of sinusitis with antibiotics in primary care practice. Treating 15 patients with an antibiotic to possibly benefit 1 patient 2 weeks after treatment commences does not seem like a good idea when one considers the cost and complications of antibiotic use. Diarrhea and other adverse outcomes are 80% more common among patients with sinusitis who are treated with an antibiotic compared with placebo. As noted above, prior meta-analyses of antibiotic treatment for acute sinusitis have been more encouraging than this meta-analysis, with a number needed to treat of 7, but those meta-analyses are clearly overly optimistic for the results one will achieve in primary care practice using clinical signs and symptoms to diagnose acute sinusitis., Unlike the Young study, they included trials in specialty clinics with CT scans and sinus puncture and culture used for the diagnostic standard.

    Also Check: Why Do I Get Sinus Headaches Everyday

    How An Ent Treats A Sinus Infection

    If you have a lingering sinus infection after antibiotics, an ENT doctor often elects to be more aggressive in treatment than a primary care physician. They may prescribe longer courses of antibiotics, stronger medications, or recommend a procedure to open the sinuses.

    If you have persistent sinus problems, the sinuses must first be unblocked. Sometimes, thats done through a simple balloon sinuplasty and irrigation. Other times, unblocking the sinuses requires a more aggressive procedure like endoscopic sinus surgery. We opt for this procedure when the sinuses become so blocked, tissue and bone need to be removed to create a wider opening.

    If youre dealing with a lingering sinus infection, dont let it progress to a more serious issue. Call your ENT so they can discover whats at the root of your problem and find a treatment to bring you relief.

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