Most Sinus Infections Don’t Require Antibiotics

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Credit: Michael Krause | Dreamstime

Most Sinus Infections Don’t Require Antibiotics

Most people whoِ haveِ sinus infections shouldِ notِ beِ treated withِ antibiotics becauseِ the drugs areِ unlikely toِ help, according toِ newِ guidelines fromِ infectious disease experts.
Although sinus infections areِ the fifth-leading reason forِ antibiotic prescriptions, 90 toِ 98 percent ofِ cases areِ caused byِ viruses, whichِ areِ not affected byِ antibiotics, according toِ theِ guidelines issued today (March 21) byِ the Infectious Diseases Society ofِ America.
There isِ no simple test thatِ will easily andِ quickly determine whetherِ a sinus infection isِ viral orِ bacterial, soِ manyِ physicians prescribe antibiotics ‘just inِ case,’ saidِ Dr.

How to tell if it’s bacterial

A sinus infection, properly called acute rhinosinusitis, isِ inflammation ofِ the nasal andِ sinus passages thatِ canِ cause uncomfortable pressure onِ eitherِ side ofِ the nose, andِ last forِ weeks.
Most sinus infections develop duringِ or afterِ a cold orِ other upper respiratory infection, butِ other factors suchِ asِ allergens andِ environmental irritants mayِ play a role.
According toِ theِ guidelines, a sinus infection isِ likely caused byِ bacteria, andِ should beِ treated withِ antibiotics, ifِ anyِ of theseِ criteria areِ met: .

What treatment to use

The guidelines recommend treating bacterial sinus infections withِ amoxicillin-clavulanate, insteadِ of theِ drug currentlyِ used, amoxicillin, becauseِ the addition ofِ clavulanate helps toِ thwart theِ development ofِ antibiotic resistance.
The guidelines alsoِ recommend againstِ using otherِ commonly usedِ antibiotics, due toِ increasing drug resistance.
While previous guidelines haveِ recommended takingِ antibiotics forِ 10 days toِ two weeks, theِ newِ guidelines suggest fiveِ to sevenِ days ofِ antibiotics isِ long enoughِ for theِ treatment ofِ adults, andِ will notِ encourage bacterial resistance.

Pass it on:  Most sinus infections are viral and do not need antibiotics.

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