If you’re suffering from a sinus infection (also referred to as sinusitis), you probably are looking for ways to get rid of it as fast as possible. While you may have heard that antibiotics can treat sinus infections, the truth is they are not the best option in most cases.
Do You Have a Sinus Infection?
The first step to figuring out treatment options for any bug you are dealing with is to determine what is. Sinus infections have overlapping symptoms with the common cold, flu and COVID-19, to name a few. These symptoms include nasal congestion, a runny nose, sore throat and cough. However, if you have a sinus infection, you’re also likely to experience facial pain or pressure. The only way to know for sure what is causing your symptoms is to visit your medical provider.
Why Antibiotics Don’t Help Treat Most Sinus Infections
Even if your doctor diagnoses you with a sinus infection, it’s unlikely that they will write you a prescription unless your symptoms are caused by a bacterial infection. The majority of sinus infections are caused by viral illnesses, which don’t respond to antibiotics.
Even in cases where the infection is bacterial, many doctors are beginning to take a wait-and-see approach to give the infection time to clear up on its own, which it often does.
The Risk of Unnecessary Antibiotic Use
It’s not just that antibiotics probably won’t help treat your sinus infection; it’s that using them when they are not needed can be actively harmful as well. Some people may develop rashes, have severe allergic reactions or develop stomach problems. There’s also a worry that overuse of antibiotics can lead to resistance and more severe infections in the future.
These concerns have prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to recommend watchful waiting or delayed antibiotic prescribing when treating sinus infections. This means that your doctor will prescribe antibiotics if your symptoms haven’t improved within several days. Some may write the prescription during your initial diagnosis but caution you not to take them unless your symptoms fail to resolve themselves.
Effective Sinus Infection Treatment
In most cases, you can manage your sinus infection at home while your body heals itself. Some ways to help minimize your symptoms include:
- Staying hydrated
- Getting plenty of rest
- Using zinc lozenges
- Picking up OTC pain medications and decongestants at Save Discount Drugs or most other Kentucky-based pharmacies
- Inhaling steam from a shower or vaporizer to help lessen congestion
If you’d like to be evaluated for your sinus symptoms, contact ENT & Allergy Specialists today and schedule an appointment with one of our experts.