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.
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Caveats: Refer Seriously Ill Patients And Complicated Cases
A very important caveat to our recommendation is that seriously ill patients must be managed differently. Very infrequently a patient develops a serious complication of acute sinusitis such as brain abscess, periorbital cellulitis, or meningitis. Therefore, seriously ill patients with signs and symptoms of acute bacterial sinusitis, such as high fever, periorbital erythema or edema, severe headache, or intense facial pain must be carefully evaluated and treated with great caution and close follow-up. These patients should be referred immediately for consultation with an otolaryngologist.
Types Of Sinus Infections: Chronic Vs Acute
There are four types of sinus infections. These classifications depend on the length and frequency of the infection:
- Acute sinusitis.This type of sinus infection lasts only for a short time, defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as less than 4 weeks. This short-term infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection .
- Subacute sinusitis. A subacute sinus infection lasts between 4 and 12 weeks .
- Recurrent acute sinusitis. An acute sinus infection is considered recurrent if the infection returns four or more times within a year, with each infection lasting 7 days or more.
- Chronic sinusitis.Chronic sinus infections last for more than 12 weeks or continue to recur.
Many sinus infection symptoms are common in both acute and chronic forms. Seeing a doctor is the best way to learn if you have an infection, find the cause, and get treatment.
For cases of acute bacterial sinus infections, these symptoms last at least 10 days without improving, or they worsen within 10 days after seeming to improve. In this case, its important to talk with a doctor, such as a general practitioner or an ear, nose, and throat doctor , to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Learn more about the symptoms of a sinus infection below.
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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.
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.
Getting Sinus Infection Medication Online
Although most cases of sinusitis arent that serious, if youve been suffering for more than a few weeks, its a good idea to make an appointment with a doctor. PlushCare is a fast, reliable online resource for doctor appointments. You can speak about your symptoms and discuss sinus infection medication options with a trained physician. Just make an appointment here, and have peace of mind about your sinus discomfort!
What Is A Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis
Inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose is referred to as sinusitis. Sinusitis can be caused by infection , but also can be caused by allergy and chemical irritation of the sinuses. A sinus infection occurs when a virus, bacterium, or fungus grows within a sinus.
Sinusitis is one of the more common conditions that can afflict people throughout their lives. Sinusitis commonly occurs when environmental pollens irritate the nasal passages, such as with hay fever. Sinusitis can also result from irritants, such as chemicals or the use and/or abuse of over-the-counter nasal sprays, and illegal substances that may be snorted or inhaled through the nose. About 30 million adults have âsinusitis.â Colds differ from sinusitis and are only caused by viruses and last about seven to 10 days while sinusitis may have many different causes , and usually last longer with more pronounced and variable symptoms.
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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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How Long Does A Take For A Sinus Headache To Go Away
- Acute sinusitis typically lasts less than eight weeks or occurs no more than three times per year with each episode lasting no longer than 10 days. Medications are generally effective against acute sinusitis. Successful treatment counteracts damage done to the mucous lining of the sinuses and surrounding bone of the skull.
- Chronic or recurring sinusitis lasts longer than eight weeks or occurs more than four times per year, with symptoms usually lasting more than 20 days.
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Best Over The Counter Medicines For Sinus Infection 2020
If you are struggling with a stuffy or a runny nose, pain across your face, and extensive congestion, you might be dealing with a bad case of sinusitis. Dont worry, though a sinus infection isnt anything that could seriously threaten your health. It can, however, be very inconvenient and uncomfortable.
Fortunately, there are lots of treatments and medicines you can get over the counter to manage and relieve the symptoms of sinusitis. However, while these products are highly accessible, the sheer number of options can make it difficult to choose. So, which product is the best over the counter medicine for a sinus infection?
Let this buying guide help you land the right choice.
Challenges To Implementation: The Patient Who Wants A Pill
Some patients may be accustomed to receiving an antibiotic prescription for their sinus infections and may resist conservative management. It may be difficult to convince them that antibiotics wont make a difference when they attribute past resolution of symptoms to antibiotics.
Take enough time to educate your patients on the natural course of illness, the positive benefits of nasal saline, and the reasons not to use unnecessary antibiotics this effort will save you time in future visits.10 A just in case you dont get better prescription to be filled only if the patient is not improving in the next few days is about 50% effective in reducing antibiotic usage for upper respiratory infections.11
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What Tests Diagnose The Cause Of Sinus Infections And Sinusitis
Sinus infection is most often diagnosed based on the history and examination of a doctor. Because plain X-ray studies of the sinuses may be misleading and procedures such as CT and MRI scans, which are much more sensitive in their ability to diagnose a sinus infection, are so expensive and not available in most doctorsâ offices, most sinus infections are initially diagnosed and treated based on clinical findings on examination. These physical findings may include:
- redness and swelling of the nasal passages,
- purulent drainage from the nasal passages ,
- tenderness to percussion over the cheeks or forehead region of the sinuses, and
- swelling about the eyes and cheeks.
Occasionally, nasal secretions are examined for secreted cells that may help differentiate between infectious and allergic sinusitis. Infectious sinusitis may show specialized cells of infection while allergic sinusitis may show specialized white blood cells of allergy . Physicians prescribe antibiotics if the bacterial infection is suspected. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections many physicians then treat the symptoms.
In addition, both rigid and flexible endoscopy has been used to obtain diagnostic material from sinuses. These procedures are usually done by an otolaryngologist under topical and local anesthesia. Occasionally, there may be a need to sedate the patient. Some investigators suggest that endoscopy specimens are comparable to those obtained by needle puncture.
When To Use Antibiotics For Sinusitis
No doubt, antibiotic medications are formulated for killing bacteria, but they are not effective against virus, fungi, and allergens. With a sinusitis case, bacteria are one of the probable causes, and there are also high chances of allergies, fungal or viral infections. For those with viral and fungal attacks, there is no point in adopting antibacterial therapy. Unfortunately, some patients afflicted with sinusitis self administer antibiotics without knowing the actual cause. Also, it is a common practice to prescribe antibiotics for sinusitis. And the outcome is, persistent symptoms and increased risk of bacterial resistance to the antibiotic medication.
Proper diagnosis of sinus infection is thus a necessity before starting antibacterial treatment for sinusitis. It is proceeded by culturing the mucus from affected sinuses and examining it for presence of microorganisms. In addition, imaging studies of the paranasal sinuses are performed to identify any abnormal changes in them. Once it is confirmed that bacteria cause the problem, the physician may recommend antibacterial formulation for sinus infection. The antibiotics either stop further multiplication of bacteria or kill them. In either of the cases, taking medication and strengthening the immune system quicken the recovery period.
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Sinus Infection Medications: Medicines That Help Treat Sinusitis
Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Masters of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
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What Decongestants And Nasal Sprays Soothe Or Cure Sinus Infections Or Sinusitis
Taking decongestants and mucolytics orally may be helpful in assisting drainage of sinus infection.
The treatment of chronic forms of sinus infection requires longer courses of medications, such as Augmentin, and may require a sinus drainage procedure. This drainage typically requires a surgical operation to open the blocked sinus under general anesthesia. In general, antihistamines should be avoided unless it is felt that the sinusitis sinus infection is due to allergies, such as from pollens, dander, or other environmental causes.
It is likely that the use of a topical nasal steroid spray will help reduce swelling in the allergic individual without the drying that is caused by using antihistamines although both are occasionally used. Oral steroids may be prescribed to reduce acute inflammation and to help with chronic inflammation in cases with or without polyps and in allergic fungal sinusitis.
In many people, allergic sinusitis develops first, and later, bacterial infection occurs. For these individuals, early treatment of allergic sinusitis may prevent the development of secondary bacterial sinusitis.
In rare instances or in natural disasters, fungal infections may develop in debilitated people. Death rates of 50%-85% have been reported for patients with these sinus infections. Treatment relies on early diagnosis followed by immediate surgical debridement, antifungal drugs, , and stabilizing any underlying health problem such as diabetes.
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Is There A Right Way To Blow Your Nose
If you have a stuffy nose, trying to force yourself to blow your nose could make it worse. The best thing to do is to blow one side of your nose at a time gently into a tissue. You might want to first use some type of nasal rinse to loosen any material in your nose before blowing. Make sure you dispose of the tissue and then clean your hands with soap and water or an antimicrobial sanitizer.
The Right Way To Treat A Sinus Infection
5 min Read Time
Your head is throbbing, especially around your eyes. You cant stop coughing, and for some reason, your breath is terrible. Blowing your nose is a mess.
Bad news: You could have a sinus infection. Most frequently triggered by the common cold, over 30 million American adults are diagnosed with sinusitis yearly.
So, what exactly are sinus infections? How can you tell if you have one? And holy cow how can you feel better as quickly as possible?
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When To See A Doctor
If you have a simple sinus infection, sometimes at-home treatment with over-the-counter medications such as a decongestant. Physicians generally advise not to use an over-the-counter decongestant for more than 3 days, however, as it can make you more congested. Warm compresses and saline nose drops may also help.
However, sinus infections generally require seeing a doctor. You dont want your sinus infection to get more serious, and the discomfort that accompanies such infections is best treated by a medical professional.
You should make an appointment with your doctor if any of the above symptoms last more than ten days or keep coming back over a short period of time. Also, contact your doctor immediately if you have a high fever , a severe headache or facial swelling, problems with your vision, or a very stiff neck.
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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.
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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.
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