Feel Better Sooner Without Antibiotics
Instead of taking antibiotics for sinusitis, Consumer Reports chief medical adviser, Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., recommends that you get plenty of rest, rinse your nose with a saltwater sinus rinse or spray, drink warm fluids, and inhale steam from a hot bath, shower, or kettle. For pain, he says, try an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen .
If needed, your doctor can prescribe a prescription corticosteroid spray, such as fluticasone or triamcinolone.A systematic review published in JAMAin 2015 found that after saline irrigation, the second-best treatment for chronic sinusitis was a topical corticosteroid spray for a few days.
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.
Is Your Sinus Infection Caused By A Virus Or Bacteria
Physicians may not know if sinusitis is bacterial or viral, because the diagnosis is typically done by observing symptoms. Symptoms include:
- Nasal congestion
- 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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Check If You Have Sinusitis
Symptoms of sinusitis include:
- pain, swelling and tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead
- a reduced sense of smell
- green or yellow mucus from your nose
- a sinus headache
Signs of sinusitis in young children may also include irritability, difficulty feeding, and breathing through their mouth.
The sinuses are small, empty spaces behind your cheekbones and forehead that connect to the inside of the nose.
Sinusitis causes the lining of the sinuses to swell up.
This stops mucus draining into your nose and throat properly, making you feel blocked up.
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What Are The Best Antibiotics For Sinus Infection Do Doctors Prescribe For You
There are many antibiotics that your doctor or physician may prescribe to help treat your sinus infection. Some of these may even be familiar to you.
These antibiotics are effective in treating sinus infection, however, these drugs do carry side effects. You should only be taken according to what your doctor or physician has prescribed. Always follow their instructions to achieve the best results.
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Bacterial Or Staph Nose Infection
Why are bacterial cases common? Almost everyone carries the staph bacteria in the nose or on the skin surface. Under favorable conditions, the bacteria multiply leading to an infection.
The bacterial strain Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause. Most cases caused by S. aureus are secondary. Infections occur after colds, flu or when the nasal membranes become viable hence cannot filter out germs and foreign stuff.
Bacterial caused cases of nose or staph can produce localized signs or as inside-body symptoms in the case of invasive infections, i.e. when it attacks internal body organs.
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A More In Depth Explanation Of Sinusitis
Acute sinusitis causes the cavities around your nasal passages to become inflamed and swollen. This interferes with drainage and causes mucus to build up.
With acute sinusitis, it might be difficult to breathe through your nose. The area around your eyes and face might feel swollen, and you might have throbbing facial pain or a headache.
Acute sinusitis is mostly caused by the common cold. Unless a bacterial infection develops, most cases resolve within a week to 10 days.
In most cases, home remedies are all that’s needed to treat acute sinusitis. However, persistent sinusitis can lead to serious infections and other complications. Sinusitis that lasts more than 12 weeks despite medical treatment is called chronic sinusitis.
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Do I Need Antibiotics For Every Sinus Infection
Many sinus infections are caused by viruses, the ones that cause the common cold. These types of infections are not cured by antibiotics. Taking an antibiotic for a viral infection unnecessarily puts you at risk for side effects related to the antibiotic. In addition, the overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, which may make future infections more difficult to treat.
Diagnosing A Sinus Infection
Since you cant tell if an infection is viral or bacterial just from looking at the symptoms, your surgeon will most likely run a few tests to diagnose the problem before recommending treatment. Diagnosing the infection can involve imaging to examine the sinuses and a mucus culture. Taking a sample of mucus from the nose or sinuses will help your surgeon determine if a bacteria is to blame and, if so, what type of bacteria is responsible. Knowing the type of bacteria thats causing your infection allows your surgeon to prescribe the type of antibiotic that would be most effective in treating it.
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What Are Complications Of A Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis
While serious complications do not occur frequently, it is possible for a sinus infection to cause a direct extension of infection into the brain through a sinus wall, creating a life-threatening emergency .
In addition, other adjacent structures can become infected and develop problems, such as osteomyelitis of bones in the skull and infection around the eye . Rarely, these infections may cause death. The most susceptible individuals to complications are patients with suppressed immune systems, diabetes, and relatively rarely from multiple trauma injuries that may occur in natural disasters.
Results Of Clinical Trials
There have been no randomized controlled trials of antibiotic treatment for ABRS using sinus aspirate cultures before and after treatment, although nonrandomized trials have demonstrated bacteriologic cures. Five RCTs and two meta-analyses have compared antibiotics, usually amoxicillin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole , with placebo, with clinical improvement as the outcome, which is the more clinically relevant patient-oriented outcome.4,5 About 47 percent of patients treated with antibiotics and 32 percent of the control group were cured at 10 to 14 days. Eighty-one percent of patients treated with antibiotics and 66 percent of the control group were cured or improved, meaning one patient benefited for every seven treated with antibiotics. The treatment effect in these trials may have been underestimated because the lack of specificity of diagnosis diluted the effect of treatment.
Amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium , cephalosporins , and macrolides , have been studied extensively.6,7 All have demonstrated similar clinical success ratesgenerally above 85 percent. The use of fluoroquinolones for ABRS is relatively new. Ciprofloxacin and cefuroxime had 90 percent resolution rates when administered to patients in a primary care setting.8 In an open-label RCT, levofloxacin and clarithromycin had 96 and 93 percent clinical success rates, respectively.9
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Signs Of A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection is something you want to deal with right away to prevent it from escalating. However, its not easy to discern between the different symptoms and what they mean. After all, an infection manifests itself in a similar way to the flu or a cold, so you cant always act decisively.
With that in mind, here are some signs you have a sinus infection and should see an ear, nose and throat doctor.
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Natural Remedies To Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection Fast
How to get rid of a sinus infection fast? A sinus infection or sinusitis causes inflammation of the cavities or tissue lining around the sinuses . When sinuses become filled with fluid and get clogged, bacteria and other harmful microorganisms grow and result in an infection. Luckily, there are many solutions to getting rid of a sinus infection that you can do at home.
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Ways To Clear Up Sinus Congestion
You dont have to keep living with the symptoms of a sinus infection. Here are eight smart tips from both experts and readers thatll help get you breathing easier in no time.
Sinus congestion may make you feel miserable, but managing it can be easy if you find the right treatment, that is. First, it helps to figure out whats triggering the congestion. You can treat the symptoms, but you are going to be chasing your tail if you dont know whats causing them, says Ian Alexander, MD, an otolaryngologist and founder of the National Sinus Institute, which has clinics in New Mexico and Texas. Common causes include allergies and infections, but your congestion could also be caused by structural problems with your nose and sinuses. Here are some short- and long-term solutions that can help ease congestion and relieve sinusitis symptoms.
Treating Sinus Infections Without Antibiotics
There are also complications that can develop with dependency on these drugs. The more antibiotics are used the less effective they can become, with possible side effects like dizziness, stomach problems and rashes.
Instead of turning to antibiotics, Alan Conway, M.D., family physician at Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare in Tomah, suggests some alternative methods of treatment. Dr. Conway says, First of all, you should give yourself enough rest. Your body needs the time to fight the infection with full force, especially in the first few days when symptoms are the most severe.
Dr. Conway also says. Watch out for over-the-counter products that contain oxymetazoline. These products may relieve symptoms for a few days, but they can cause congestion if used longer than three days. Instead, use generic pseudoephedrine pills if you are stuffed up for more than three days.
Sinus infections can turn into a bacterial infection, due to the prolonged blockage in the sinus cavity. It is not easy to determine whether the infection is viral or bacterial, considering that the symptoms are the same for both. Even if the infection becomes bacterial, 70% of the time the infection will go away within two weeks without antibiotics.
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Recommendations For Nonantimicrobial Therapy
Intranasal steroids have not been conclusively shown to be of benefit in cases of acute sinusitis. One meta-analysis of 4 double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of intranasal corticosteroid treatment in acute rhinosinusitis supports its use as monotherapy or as an adjuvant therapy to antibiotics. However, a randomized, controlled trial of antibiotics and intranasal steroid showed no treatment benefit of intranasal steroids, either alone or with antibiotics.
In a literature study, van Loon et al concluded that only limited evidence exists regarding the efficacy of intranasal corticosteroids in relieving the symptoms of recurrent acute rhinosinusitis. The best evidence, according to the investigators, came from a single study, which had a low bias risk but only moderate directness of evidence according to that report, intranasal corticosteroids may shorten the time needed to achieve symptom relief.
No available data suggest that antihistamines are beneficial in acute sinusitis. In fact, antihistamines may cause harm by drying mucous membranes and decreasing clearance of secretions. Antihistamines are beneficial for reducing ostiomeatal obstruction in patients with allergies and acute sinusitis however, they are not recommended for routine use for patients with acute sinusitis. Antihistamines may complicate drainage by thickening and pooling sinonasal secretions.
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 improving.
- Symptoms lasting more than 10 days without getting better.
- 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
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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. Do I maybe need antibiotics? she asked.
How Can You Get Rid Of A Sinus Infection
Try these 10 natural remedies for sinus pain relief to help break the sinus pain cycle:
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How Can I Prevent Sinusitis
Some of the home remedies used to treat sinus infections symptoms may help prevent sinusitis. These include rinsing your nose out with salt water and using medications that your provider might suggest, such as allergy medications or steroid nasal sprays.
You should avoid things you are allergic to, like dust, pollen or smoke, and try to avoid sick people. Wash your hands to reduce your chance of getting a cold or flu.
Treating Your Sinus Infection
If you think you have a sinus infection, you may need to see your doctor.
Ã¢Mostly, these acute infections go away on their own or after a simple course of antibiotics,Ã¢ says ear, nose, and throat specialist Greg Davis, who practices at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.
Davis recommends sinus irrigation for sinus infections. It can help ease your symptoms while you wait for the antibiotics to do their job. Steroids, , and over-the-counter mucus thinners can also ease your discomfort, he says.
See an ear, nose, and throat specialist if your sinus infection doesnÃ¢t go away after one or two courses of antibiotics, Davis says.
Some people have sinus infections over and over. The only known risk factors, Davis says, are allergies and smoking In rare cases, an acute infection can become chronic if itÃ¢s not treated successfully.
If you have chronic infections, and antibiotics and other treatments donÃ¢t help, you may need sinus surgery, Davis says.
Your doctor will enlarge the small or inflamed and swollen openings of your sinuses, allowing them to drain, and letting you breathe more easily.
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What Is A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection, medically known as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis, occurs when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen, and inflamed. Fluid buildup in the sinuses can cause germs to grow, leading to a sinus infection.
Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus and often lasts even after other upper respiratory symptoms are gone. In some cases, bacteria or, rarely, fungus may cause a sinus infection.