Viral Vs Bacterial Sinus Infections
Most sinus infections are caused by viruses that create inflammation in the sinuses, leading to blockage that can make it hard to breathe, nasal secretions, postnasal drip, and other discomfort like facial pain around your eyes, cheeks, nose, or forehead.
Knowing thisand that antibiotics dont work on viral infectionsmost healthcare providers first recommend treatments to relieve the symptoms of a sinus infection while you wait for it to resolve.
These may include:
- Over-the-counter such as pseudoephedrine
- Pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease discomfort from swelling, fever, or sore throat
In rare cases, viral sinus infections can lead to bacterial growth in the nasal passages.
Theres no way to know for sure if you have a bacterial sinus infection without testing a mucus sample.
But even without a sample, two signs typically indicate a bacterial infection and may prompt your provider to prescribe antibiotics:
- A sinus infection that lasts for more than 10 days
- Symptoms of the infection resolve, then back worse a couple days later
Some people think yellow or green mucus may be a sign of a bacterial sinus infection, but colored mucus can occur with viral infections and does not necessarily mean you have a bacterial infection.
If you do have bacterial sinusitis , it should respond to antibiotics within a few days.
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 Would Doctors Diagnose A Sinus Infection Vs Covid
The determination as to whether you have COVID or a sinus infection should be made by a doctor. If the doctor suspects COVID-19, he or she will test you for the virus by swabbing your sinus cavity and sending the sample to a lab.
When doctors suspect a sinus infection, they look inside the nose for redness and swelling and will ask you about the color and frequency of your nasal discharge. They will check to see if your face is tender and ask you questions about how long youve been suffering from the illness.
Dr. Chase suggest there are three primary criteria that indicate a sinus infection:
We dont usually diagnose a sinus infection until somebody has been sick for seven to 10 days. Typically, with that youre going to have the classic tenderness in your sinuses, he says. Usually youre going to have a yellow/green runny nose thats pretty consistent throughout the day, and youre going to have a fever. You want to see those three things before you diagnose somebody with a sinus infection.
With COVID-19, the duration of the illness is different, along with the sinus tenderness, and discharge. If youre worried about your symptoms and are suffering from pain, fever, headaches, or any other clinical symptoms, its a good idea to consult your doctor.
Read Also: Sinus Pressure And Congestion Medicine
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 initially improving.
- Symptoms lasting more than 10 days without improvement.
- 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
How Is Sinusitis Treated
Sinusitis is treated in several ways, each depending on how severe the case of sinusitis is.
A simple sinusitis infection is treated with:
- Drinking fluids .
If symptoms of sinusitis don’t improve after 10 days, your doctor may prescribe:
- Antibiotics .
- Oral or topical decongestants.
- Prescription intranasal steroid sprays. .
Long-term sinusitis may be treated by focusing on the underlying condition . This is usually treated with:
- Intranasal steroid sprays.
- Topical antihistamine sprays or oral pills.
- Leukotriene antagonists to reduce swelling and allergy symptoms.
- Rinsing the nose with saline solutions that might also contain other types of medication.
When sinusitis isn’t controlled by one of the above treatments, a CT scan is used to take a better look at your sinuses. Depending on the results, surgery may be needed to correct structural problems in your sinuses. This is most likely to happen if you have polyps and/or a fungal infection.
You May Like: Best Over The Counter For Sinus Pressure
When Antibiotics Dont Work
Some patients suffer from recurring sinus infections. If your sinus infection does not improve within five to seven days after you finish the whole course of antibiotics, or if you experience another sinus infection within a few weeks, you may be referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist for treatment.
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.
Throat Irritation And Cough
As discharge from your sinuses drains down the back of your throat, it can cause irritation, especially over a long period of time. This can lead to a persistent and annoying cough, which can be worse when lying down to sleep or first thing in the morning after getting up from bed.
It can also make sleeping difficult. Sleeping upright or with your head elevated can help reduce the frequency and intensity of your coughing.
How To Treat A Sinus Infection Without Antibiotics
Before you consider antibiotics, a sinus infection can be treated without leaving at home. Some of the home remedies to treat a sinus infection without antibiotics include:
Also Check: Hot Toddy For Sinus Infection
Will I Need To Make Lifestyle Changes To Deal With Sinus Infections
If you have indoor allergies it is recommended that you avoid triggersanimal dander and dust mites, for exampleas well as take medications. Smoking is never recommended, but if you do smoke, strongly consider a program to help you quit. Smoke can also trigger allergies and prevent removal of mucous by the nose. No special diet is required, but drinking extra fluids helps to thin nasal secretions.
Basics Of Doxycycline For Sinus Infection
According to a clinical trial published in the National Library of Medicine, doxycycline was far more effective than ampicillin in curing sinusitis in affected patients. 90% of the patients responded to the drug while only 35% responded to ampicillin. It was inferred that this is effective as it fights against the organisms as well as can penetrate the sinuses which act as a reservoir for the infections.
Doxycycline is an antibiotic that cures a wide variety of infections caused by different bacteria. Apart from sinusitis, it can also cure other bacterial infections including urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, eye infections, gonorrhea, syphilis, etc.
In addition to these infections, medicine is very effective in treating skin blemishes or acne. Moreover, it is believed that taking this drug also reduces the risk of malaria.
Also Check: Get Antibiotics For Sinus Infection Online
When To See A Doctor For Asinus Infection
often goes away on its own however, there are times when you should see your doctor for sinus infection treatment if self-care doesnt work. You should see a doctor if you still have sinusitis symptoms after a week or if they return more than a few times within a year. You should also see a doctor as soon as possible if the infection worsens. Signs of a worsening sinus infection include:
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.
Read Also: How To Relieve Pain From A Sinus Infection
What Is The Best Medication For A Sinus Infection
The best medication for sinus infection treatment is determined by your doctor and varies by case. Below, you can see a comparison of the most common sinus infection medications to learn what to expect.
|Best medications for sinus infections
|1, 1200 mg tablet every 12 hours no more than 2 tablets in 24 hours do not chew or crush. Take with a full glass of water.
|Headache, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness
Dosage is determined by your doctor based on your medical condition, response to treatment, age, and weight. Other possible side effects exist. This is not a complete list.
What Are Common Side Effects Of Sinus Infection Medications
The most common side effects of sinus infection medications differ by the type of medication you use. Decongestants tend to cause nervousness, insomnia, and a loss of appetite. Side effects of antibiotics include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Antihistamines and steroids can cause dizziness and sleep disturbances.
This is not an exhaustive list of sinus infection medication side effects. If you experience any adverse reactions from a medication or treatment, its always best to consult with your healthcare provider.
Also Check: Where Are Your Sinus Cavities Located
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.
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.
Recommended Reading: How Do You Diagnose A Sinus Infection
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.
Related Resources For Sinus Infections
* Prescription savings vary by prescription and by pharmacy, and may reach up to 80% off cash price.
Pharmacy names, logos, brands, and other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
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
How Long Does It Take For Antibiotics To Kick In For 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.
Also Check: Can I Run With A Sinus Infection
Questions To Bring Up At Your Doctors Visit
Its normal to have questions about antibiotics, so dont hesitate to ask your doctor!
Antibiotics arent completely risk-free, so youll want to make sure you understand why youre taking them and how to take them safely if your doctor prescribes them. Consider asking these questions:
How does this antibiotic treat my infection?
What should I do if I dont start feeling better even after Ive finished my antibiotics?
What kinds of side effects should I expect?
How long will it take for the antibiotics to work?
Could this antibiotic interact with any medications or supplements Im taking already?
How will I know if Im allergic to this antibiotic?
Between your doctors expert advice and these tips on how to take antibiotics, you should be well-prepared for a safe course of treatment.
If your doctor doesnt prescribe antibiotics, it doesnt mean you wont get better. Answers to these questions may help you understand how you can manage your infection without antibiotics:
Why wont antibiotics treat this infection?
How can I manage the symptoms of this infection without antibiotics?
What should I do if I dont start feeling better soon?
How Do You Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection Fast
You can treat a sinus infection at home or with OTC medications for symptom relief, and/or a prescription antibiotic medication, in the case of a bacterial infection. Stay hydrated, use a humidifier, and sleep at an incline to help resolve your sinus infection quickly. Consult your healthcare provider to see if you need an antibiotic.
Read Also: How Do I Cure A Sinus Infection
Prednisone For Sinus Infection: Does It Work
A sinus infection, commonly known as sinusitis, is when your sinuses get infected, causing them to become swollen or inflamed. These are mainly due to bacterial, fungal, or viral infection, as in the common cold. Sinuses are the hollow parts or cavities within your skull, which are found behind the nose, forehead, and cheeks. These cavities are lined with a protective layer of mucus, meant to fight against external irritants like dust.
When your sinuses get inflamed, this can cause an excessive amount of mucus to build-up within your cavities. In turn, this causes pain and discomfort, making your head feel extremely stuffy and heavy. Sinusitis is quite a common condition in the US, with about 30 million people being diagnosed with it each year. Prednisone is a prescription steroid intended to reduce inflammation within the body. As sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, does prednisone work in treating it? Lets find out.