Monday, September 26, 2022

When Do I Need Antibiotics For A Sinus Infection

Sinus Infection Treatment Timeline With Antibiotics

Are antibiotics needed for 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.

How Long Do Sinus Infections Last

Many variables affect the duration of sinus infections. Most last more than 10 days, but when a sinus infection lasts more than twelve weeks, it is considered chronic sinusitis.

If after 10 days, your symptoms have not improved, see your primary care doctor. You may have an acute sinus infection.If it lasts four weeks, you potentially have a sub-acute sinus infection that needs more aggressive treatment.

If symptoms last over 12 weeks, youre likely dealing with a chronic infection. After such prolonged symptoms, it can be difficult to distinguish sinus headaches from migraine headaches from severe allergies. After 12 weeks, diagnosing and treating the issue requires the medical expertise of an ENT.

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.

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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.

  • Ciprofloxacin This drug is used to treat conditions including urinary tract infections, specific types of infectious diarrhea, bone and joint infections, respiratory tract infections, typhoid, and other forms of bacterial infection.
  • Trimethoprim This drug is the brand name for a medication that is a combination of two antibiotics: trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole that is used to treat bacterial infections. Bactrim works by preventing the growth of bacteria.
  • 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.

    Antibiotics Are Not A Good First Choice For Sinus Infections

    When Do I Need Antibiotics For Sinusitis?

    People often are quick to ask their doctor for an antibiotic prescription when they suffer from a bad flu or sinus infection. These infections can be annoying, with congested noses, headaches, pain all across the face and never-ending mucus. People just want to make the pain and discomfort go away and get on with their lives. Thats understandable, but antibiotics most likely wont better their situation, as has been shown in countless studies. This is because sinusitis, like most infections of the upper respiratory tract, are caused by viruses, not bacteria. And antibiotics only go after bacteria.

    Actually, taking antibiotics can make you feel sicker, since your body is already weakened by the viral infection and now you expose it to the stress of antibiotics side effects. All antibiotics have side effects, so they should only be taken when it makes medical sense, such as when treating a bacterial infection.

    More generally, you want to keep your antibiotics use at a minimum. Because the more you use antibiotics, the more likely you are to get ill in the upper respiratory tract in the future, as the antibiotics not just kill bad bacteria but also the good bacteria in your body that help protect your health.

    It, therefore, is recommended not to immediately treat every sinus infections with antibiotics, but preserve them as heavy ammunition for the most severe cases.

    Read Also: Prescription Antibiotics For Sinus Infection

    What Are Complications Of 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.

    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: Sinus Infection Vs Flu Vs Cold

    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.

    When To Call Your Provider

    Do Antibiotics Help With Sinus Infections?

    Occasionally, viral infections can set the stage for more complicated bacterial infections. If you experience any of the following, call your healthcare provider:

    • High fever
    • Shortness of breath or wheezing
    • Coughing up bloody mucus
    • Coughing so hard that you throw up
    • Feeling worse after 7-10 days of symptoms, especially if you have worsening headache, congestion, or sinus pain
    • If you dont start to feel better after 10 days of symptoms

    To speak with a One Medical provider, sign up today and book an in-person or virtual visit.

    Recommended Reading: Good Nasal Spray For Sinus Infection

    How To Get Rid Of Sinusitis

    If you want to get rid of your sinusitis, you and your ENT will need to work together to discover the source of your sinus infections. For example, your sinusitis might always be precipitated by a cold, or you could have a deviated septum and sinusitis or sinusitis and sleep apnea. Regardless, finding the root cause behind your recurrent or prolonged sinusitis will help determine treatment.

    Once the source of your sinus infections is found, you and your ENT will need to discuss treatment options. For those with recurrent sinus issues, one treatment, in particular, has proven itself effective again and again. That treatment option is balloon sinuplasty.

    Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive, in-office procedure that takes less than 20 minutes to perform and requires little to no recovery time.

    Two Types Of Sinus Infections

    Lets differentiate between acute and chronic sinus infections. Acute sinus infections can last up to 4 weeks. If you are experiencing sinus infection symptoms for longer than 2 weeks, it doesnt mean you have a bad case of sinusitis this is normal. If you experience symptoms for longer than 4 weeks, this can be considered subacute anything that lasts longer than 12 weeks is considered chronic.

    Now, lets differentiate between bacteria and viruses. Either of the two can infect the body, and each warrants a different course of treatment. Bacterial infections require antibiotics, while viral infections do not they resolve themselves. All you can do in the latter case is to drink plenty of fluids, rest, and take decongestants. The majority of cases are viral, in which case your doctor cant prescribe you with anything other than decongestants.

    Read Also: Can You Drink On Sinus Infection Antibiotics

    What Is Sinus Infection

    Medically known as rhinosinusitis, Sinus infection or Sinusitis is an inflammation or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses. Healthy sinuses are filled with air. But when they become blocked and filled with fluid, germs can grow and cause an infection. It occurs when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen, and inflamed. Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus and often persists even after other upper respiratory symptoms are gone. In some cases, bacteria, or rarely fungus, may cause a sinus infection.

    When Does Antibiotic Resistance Occur

    When do you really need antibiotics for that sinus ...

    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

    Recommended Reading: Does A Sinus Infection Require Antibiotics

    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.

    Can Sinusitis Cause Death

    Chronic sinusitis can spread to the eyes, blood, and brain, and, in rare circumstances, cause death. For that reason, its important to take instances of sinusitis that wont go away very seriously. If you have a persistent sinus infection, make sure you follow your doctors instructions regarding your antibiotics and of course, get plenty of rest.

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    How Long Should It Take For A Bad Sinus Infection To Go Away

    Before we delve into what to do when your sinusitis wont go away, lets figure out whether you have a sinus infection in the first place. The symptoms shared between the common cold, chronic sinusitis, and chronic allergies, are similar making it rather difficult to deduce which culprit is causing your sinus issues.

    One major differentiator, however, is time. A cold should go away within a week. If your cold lasts longer than 7-10 days, its likely that your cold has either turned into a bacterial sinus infection, or you actually had a sinus infection from the very beginning. Whatever the case, if your symptoms persist for more than a week, its best to see a doctor.

    Once your doctor determines treatment, your sinus infection symptoms should begin to subside within a few days.

    Is Your Sinus Infection Caused By A Virus Or Bacteria

    How to Treat a Sinus Infection Naturally

    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.

    Read Also: Best Over The Counter Allergy Medicine For Sinus Pressure

    Killer Sinus Infection How To Tell If Yours Is Viral Or Bacterial

    You know the symptoms: nasal congestion, facial pressure, pain, fever, too much mucus. Ugh. Its probably another sinus infection.

    But is your infection caused by a virus or bacteria and does it really matter?

    It does matter. Doctors treat viral and bacterial sinus infections differently. Here is what you need to know about both kinds of infection and how to treat them.

    Viral or bacterial?

    Most sinus infections are viral, and most are caused by the virus that causes the common cold. How can you tell, based on symptoms, whether your infection is viral or bacterial?

    Normally, you can’t.

    Symptoms like bad breath, yellow or green mucus, fever and headache are not reliable signs of a bacterial infection. They can be present with viral infections, too. Even your doctor cant tell if your infection is viral or bacterial based solely on symptoms or an exam.

    Instead, your doctor looks at symptom duration to determine the source of your infection. A viral sinus infection will usually start to improve after five to seven days. A bacterial sinus infection will often persist for seven to 10 days or longer, and may actually worsen after seven days.

    4 steps you can take

    Whether your sinus infection turns out to be viral or bacterial, you can help to ease your symptoms early on with supportive care:

  • Use saline spray two to three times per day in each nostril.

  • Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid per day.

  • Get plenty of rest.

  • What to do for chronic sinusitis

    What Are The Sinuses How Many Do We Have

    A sinus is a hollow, air-filled cavity. For the purposes of this article, a sinus will refer to those hollow cavities that are in the skull and connected to the nasal airway by a narrow hole in the bone . Normally all sinuses are open to the nasal airway through an ostium. Humans have four pair of these cavities each referred to as the:

  • frontal sinus ,
  • maxillary sinus ,
  • ethmoid sinuses , and
  • sphenoid sinus .
  • The four pairs of sinuses are often described as a unit and termed the “paranasal sinuses.” The cells of the inner lining of each sinus are mucus-secreting cells, epithelial cells, and some cells that are part of the immune system .

    Functions of the sinuses include humidifying and warming inspired air, insulation of surrounding structures , increasing voice resonance, and as buffers against facial trauma. The sinuses decrease the weight of the skull. If the inflammation hinders the clearance of mucous or blocks the natural ostium, the inflammation may progress into a bacterial infection.

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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 doctors’ 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.

    Treating Sinus Infections: Dont Rush To Antibiotics

    Sinus Infections ache remedy

    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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