About Ear Nose And Throat
Ear, Nose, and Throat Services at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside ranks among the best nationally on U.S. News & World Reports listings. Our team includes board-certified physicians and highly skilled speech-language pathologists and audiologists. We treat a variety of ear, nose, and throat conditions in both children and adults and provide both surgical and non-surgical options. Our doctors also take part in research and clinical trials. We have locations throughout western Pennsylvania for patient convenience.
Pain Or Pressure In Your Sinuses
Facial pain is a common symptom of sinusitis. You have several different sinuses above and below your eyes, as well as behind your nose. Any of these air-filled cavities can hurt when you have a sinus infection.
Inflammation and swelling can cause your sinuses to ache with dull pressure. This is because inflammation may alter the typical path of mucus from the nose to the back of the throat.
You may feel pain in:
- your forehead
- on either side of your nose
- in your upper jaws and teeth
- between your eyes
This may lead to a headache. Headaches caused by sinus infections can occur where the sinuses are or in other places.
How Is Sinus Infection Diagnosed
Diagnosis depends on symptoms and requires an examination of the throat, nose and sinuses. Your allergist will look for:
- Discolored nasal discharge
- Bad Breath
If your sinus infection lasts longer than eight weeks, or if standard antibiotic treatment is not working, a sinus CT scan may help your allergist diagnose the problem. Your allergist may examine your nose or sinus openings. The exam uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light at one end that is inserted through the nose. It is not painful. Your allergist may give you a light anesthetic nasal spray to make you more comfortable.
Mucus cultures: If your sinus infection is chronic or has not improved after several rounds of antibiotics, a mucus culture may help to determine what is causing the infection. Most mucus samples are taken from the nose. However, it is sometimes necessary to get mucus directly from the sinuses.
Knowing what kind of bacteria is causing the infection can lead to more effective antibiotic therapy. A fungus could also cause your sinus infection. Confirming the presence of fungus is important. Fungal sinus infection needs to be treated with antifungal agents, rather than antibiotics. In addition, some forms of fungal sinus infection allergic fungal sinus infection, for example do not respond to antifungal agents and often require the use of oral steroids.
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Key Points To Remember
- Sinusitis is an infection or inflammation of the lining of the sinuses. Most people who get sinusitis have a cold first. Sinusitis usually goes away on its own.
- Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus, so antibiotics won’t help. Over-the-counter medicines and home treatment can help you feel better.
- Antibiotics do work if sinusitis is caused by bacteria. But you may not need to take them. Most people get better even if they don’t take antibiotics.
- Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful. The medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it. This is called antibiotic resistance.
- Antibiotics have side effects. The most common ones include upset stomach, diarrhea, and belly pain. Antibiotics can also lead to vaginal yeast infections.
When And Why You Might Need An Antibiotic For A Cold
Daniel More, MD, is a board-certified allergist and clinical immunologist with a background in internal medicine.
Steve Prezant / Getty
Any given adult will get a cold at least a couple of times a yearusually in the fall and winter. Kids can get many colds, maybe even half a dozen or more a year. When you get a cold, also known as an upper respiratory tract infection, should you visit your healthcare provider and get antibiotics?
The truth is, antibiotics for respiratory infections arent going to make you feel better sooner, and they might even leave you with side effects that make you feel worse.
Colds are known medically as upper respiratory tract infections because theyre usually limited to the upper half of your respiratory systemthe nose, sinuses, upper throat, larynx, and pharynx. These infections dont, for example, include infections that affect your lungs, like pneumonia.
Upper respiratory tract infections are usually caused by viruses, like rhinovirus, coronavirus, or influenza, though rarely they are caused by bacteria. Bacteria that infect the upper respiratory tract are most often S. pyogenes , or sometimes H influenzae.
Due to the development and routine administration of the H. influenzae vaccine over the past 30 years, the incidence of this infection has dropped substantially.
Antibiotics may be prescribed in a few different situations:
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What Medications Are Used To Treat Sinus Infections
First and foremost, if you are suffering from an active bacterial sinus infection you may be treated with antibiotics. Depending on whether you have acute sinusitis or chronic sinusitis will determine your course of therapy.As acute sinusitis may require 10 -14 days of antibiotic therapy chronic sinusitis may need to be treated for up to 30 days with medication.Remember Most cases of sinusitis are caused by viruses such as the common cold and will clear up within 10 or so days. In this case, antibiotics will not be helpful as antibiotics kill bacteria not viruses. Based upon your symptoms, medical history and physical examination your doctor will help determine if antibiotics are necessary.
Sinus headaches hurt. Sometimes the pain and pressure can make basic everyday activities impossible to do. So many times those suffering from sinusitis will take an over the counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen . Make sure to follow the labeled directions and see your doctor if your symptoms havent improved after a week or if they worsen.
Aerosolized antibiotics, steroids and antifugal treatments:
These may be administered through an aerosol or a nasal rinse. Frequently a compounding pharmacy is required to create this rinse.
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When Antibiotics Are Appropriate
There are only a few situations in which your healthcare provider might prescribe antibiotics when youre dealing with a cold or flu. Usually, these are secondary bacterial infections caused by the cold or flu symptoms that cause issues in the sinuses or other structures of the upper respiratory system.
Antibiotics may be helpful if common cold symptoms last for more than 10 days, the Cochrane report found.
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Treating Sinusitis At Advent
If youre suffering from chronic sinusitis and stuck in the cycle of antibiotics and symptom management, you may be struggling with an underlying issue. At ADVENT, following a proper evaluation of The Breathing Triangle®, you may find that youre a great candidate for a simple, in-office solution such as Balloon Sinuplasty.
At ADVENT, we get to the bottom of reoccurring sinusitis, so you can ditch the cycle of ineffective treatments and finally find the relief youve been looking for.
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How Long Will It Take For My Child To Recover From An Ear Infection In
Ear infections heal in stages. Antibiotics are administered to help kill bacteria in the middle ear usually within a few days. Most symptoms of fever and discomfort resolve during this time. However, fluid may linger for several weeks and continue to interfere with hearing. It is important to follow up with your childs doctor within a months time to ensure the fluid is beginning to drain from the ear. If it lingers longer than normal, your doctor may become concerned about the potential for recurrent sinus infections, chronic colds, or allergies.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind:
It is important to see a doctor if your child begins to display the signs of ear infection. An accurate diagnosis is essential for successful treatment especially since some children can exhibit the symptoms of ear infection in association with a different condition, such as teething.
Blood and pus draining from your childs ear may be frightening, but they are nothing to be overly concerned about. This is a normal symptom of ear infection and may occur if your childs eardrum has ruptured. Most children heal and recover from this condition with no complications.
It is important to completely finish an entire course of prescribed antibiotics as instructed. Stopping early could allow the infection to return.
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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.
Sinus Infection Treatment Options
There are many treatment options for a sinus infection, but the best treatment option varies by the severity of the case. Some acute sinus infections will clear up on their own without any treatment, and you may just think it was a cold. Others require more serious interventions by a healthcare provider.
The standard treatment healthcare providers prescribe for a presumed bacterial sinus infection is an antibiotic. However, if you have a sinus infection caused by a viral infection such as the common cold, your doctor will not prescribe antibiotics as these medications only treat bacterial infections. Instead, you can treat the sinus infection symptomatically until it resolves, with nasal decongestants and antihistamines.
There are plenty of ways to treat symptoms of a sinus infection at home with over-the-counter medications and home remedies. OTC antihistamines block the effects of histamine, helping symptoms like sneezing and runny nose. Simple treatments like drinking water, keeping your sinuses hydrated , and using warm compresses, can also help treat symptoms of a sinus infection.
Keeping your nasal passages clean can help you prevent future sinus infections. If you anticipate having sinus issues during allergy or cold season, flushing out your nasal passages with a saltwater solution can help you avoid the pains of a sinus infection.
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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.
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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.
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What Matters Most To You
Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.
Reasons to take antibiotics for sinusitis
Reasons not to take antibiotics
I know I have a bacterial infection that is causing my sinusitis.
A virus is causing my sinusitis.
Personal Stories About Antibiotics For Sinusitis
These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.
I’ve had sinusitis a few times. So when my doctor suggested I take an antibiotic, I asked him if I really needed it. He said I would probably get better faster if I took the medicine. But I know from the other times that I’ll probably be okay in a week or so anyway. So we decided to wait and see instead of trying antibiotics.
I can’t wait to feel better. It seems like I’ve had bad sinus pain for the longest time. It’s been at least 2 weeks. Nasal sprays aren’t helping. I’m going to ask my doctor for antibiotics.
I thought I just had a bad cold, but my doctor says I have sinusitis caused by a bacterial infection. I’ve been doing all the right things at home, but it isn’t going away. I think antibiotics are the next step for me.
I thought I’d get my doctor to give me some antibiotics for my sinusitis. Then I’d be over it sooner. But it turns out that antibiotics won’t help me, since my sinusitis started as a cold. I didn’t know that antibiotics don’t always work. I’m going to wait it out instead.
John, age 52
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Sinus Infection Definition And Facts
- Sinusitis or sinus infection is inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose.
- Sinusitis can be caused by infection, allergies, and chemical or particulate irritation of the sinuses.
- The fastest way to get rid of a sinus infection can include medications, home remedies, alternative therapies, and surgery.
- Most people do not spread sinus infections to other people.
- Sinusitis may be classified as acute sinus infection, subacute sinus infection, chronic sinus infection, infected sinusitis, and noninfectious sinusitis.
- Sinusitis signs and symptoms include
What Is Sinus Infection And How Does One Get Infected
Sinus cavities are empty spaces in which the air flows it is located within the bones that surround our nose. When our nasal cavities become swollen, an infection may immediately follow, particularly because the sinuses were filled with germs and fluid that block the passages, which is the main reason for infection.
Depending on the type of infection your sinus has acquired, it could last longer than you wish it would. Acute sinusitis may last for about a couple of week even when you are self-medicating. Bacterial sinusitis, those which doctors usually recommend antibiotics to cure, occur if the symptoms last for over 14 days. Nevertheless, you may be surprised at how long chronic sinusitis could last it can constantly give you trouble up to 12 weeks, especially those that are associated with certain allergies. Sinus infection can affect anyone from all the age brackets.
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Is Your Sinus Infection Acute Or Chronic
A short-term sinus infection is often referred to as acute sinusitis. Most cases of acute sinusitis last about a week, but this type of short-term sinus infection can last up to four weeks. If you suffer from a sinus infection that lasts longer than 12 weeks despite treatment from your doctor, its considered chronic sinusitis.
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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Which Antibiotics Are Best For Sinus Infections In Children
- The antibiotic of choice for both children and adults who are not allergic to penicillin is amoxicillin with clavulanic acid .
- Azithromycin is NOT recommended for sinusitis due to bacterial resistance.
- Cefinir and other cephalosporins are NOT recommended for sinusitis except in combination therapy with clindamycin for children with non-life- threatening allergic reactions to penicillin. In these cases, the cephalosporin of choice is cefixime .
- Levofloxacin or doxycycline are the recommended antibiotics for adults with true penicillin allergies. Levofloxacin can also be considered for the treatment of children with life-threatening allergic reactions to penicillin. Doxycyline is not for use in children.
- Oral decongestants are not recommended for the treatment of sinusitis. Antihistamines may be used if there are underlying seasonal/environmental allergies.
- Nasal steroid sprays and nasal saline flushes can be helpful for sinusitis.
Lou Romig, MD, FAAP, FACEP, Medical Director
After Hours Pediatrics Urgent Care