Drinking Liquids Help Ease Sinus Pain And Loosens Congestion
Staying hydrated keeps your sinuses moist so you feel better, and it also decreases the thickness of sinus mucus so it flows out more easily, Del Signore says.
Everyone is guilty of not drinking enough water, he says, recommending people get from six to eight 8-ounces glasses every day.
Steer clear of too many caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, which can cause dehydration.
When Does Antibiotic Resistance Occur
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
Sinusitis In The Real World
How effective are antibiotics for patients diagnosed not by sinus x-rays or CTs, but by signs and symptomsas we typically do in daily practice?
A meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials found that sinusitis improved without antibiotics, but it included trials in which patients were recruited based on results of imaging studies and cultures, which are not normally used in primary care clinical practice. That study compared antibiotic treatment to placebo for acute uncomplicated sinusitis 35% of placebo-treated patients were clinically cured by 7 to 12 days and 73% were improved after 7 days. Antibiotic therapy increased cure rates by 15% and improvement rates by 14%, yielding a number needed to treat of 7 to achieve 1 additional positive outcome at 7 days.
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How To Treat Sinus Infections Without Antibiotics
While sinus infections caused by viruses, allergies, or other non-bacterial factors may not require antibiotics, they still cause the same symptoms which make you feel sick.
Symptoms of a sinus infection include:
- Nasal congestion
- Pain or tenderness around the eyes, cheeks, or forehead
- Thick nasal or post-nasal drainage
Taking steps to alleviate your sinusitis symptoms is often the best treatment to lessen your discomfort.
Sinus infection treatment options include:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Rest, especially the first few days, to help your body fight the infection
- Moisturize the air with a cool-mist vaporizer
- Elevate your head while sleeping to decrease post-nasal drip
- Take warm showers or baths, as steam can soothe your sore throat and loosen mucus
- Gargle with warm salt water for a sore throat
- Use saline nasal spray or nasal irrigation kit to alleviate congestion
- Use over-the-counter treatments, such as nasal drops and sprays or pseudoephedrine pills, as your doctor recommends them
What Not to Do for a Sinus Infection
You should always follow your doctors instructions when you are diagnosed with a sinus infection.
- Ask for antibiotics if your doctor feels they are unnecessary
- Take antibiotics that are prescribed for someone else
- Skip doses of your antibiotics or stop taking your antibiotics early when your doctor prescribes them
- Save antibiotics for the next time you get sick
When To See A Doctor
Remember, acute sinusitis can last for several weeks. Give your body a chance to fight it off, using self-care techniques and getting plenty of rest.
If your symptoms start to improveeven if it seems to take a whilethen let it be. Be patient. Your body is slowly, but surely, doing what it needs to do to fight the infection.
However, if your sinusitis symptoms get worse despite proper self-care if theyre accompanied by high fever, a lot of facial swelling, and green or foul-smelling nasal discharge and if these progressively worsening symptoms persist for longer than 10 days, its time to see your doctor.
In these cases, an antibiotic may be warranted because the infection has gotten out of control.
On a final note, be sure to take probiotic supplements while on antibiotics. While important and often lifesaving, antibiotics have a downsidethey also kill beneficial bacteria along with the pathogenic.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Chronic Sinus Infection
Chronic sinusitis emerges more insidiously than acute sinusitis. At times, however, the symptoms start suddenly and may resemble that of the common cold or acute sinusitis that just wont go away.
Chronic sinusitis is most likely if you have two or more of the following symptoms:
- Nasal congestion or stuffy nose
- Mucus and pus-like discharge
- Postnasal drip
- Facial pain, pressure around your eyes and nose, or fullness
- Partial or complete loss of your sense of smell
Chronic cough, sore throat, and fatigue may also be seen in a chronic sinus infection. That said, these symptoms are not required for the diagnosis of chronic rhinosinusitis.
Treatments For Sinus Infections Other Than Antibiotics
#1: Saline Nasal Wash
Saline nasal wash can be a great way to thin out the mucous in the sinuses enough to clear out the blockage. I recommend starting this early on in the course of the illness to prevent the infection from worsening.
You can even make this at home using 2 cups of water and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I would add a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda to prevent burning that can occur with use. There are also plenty of over the counter saline nasal sprays that you can purchase. You can use this 4-6 times per day.
Vaporizers are great because they can also thin out the mucous and make you feel a lot better. An easy home remedy, steam is probably the best way to use this treatment. Beware if you are an asthmatic as the steam could cause worsening of the asthma symptoms.
#3: Steroid Nasal Spray
Steroid nasal sprays such as Flonase have been my go to remedy recently and the great news is that they are now over the counter. The general recommendation is to use 1-2 sprays per nostril daily.
But I have found great relief using 2 sprays in each nostril twice daily. At these higher doses it is important to remember that you should use this short term, no more than 5-7 days.
These medications can significantly reduce inflammation allowing the congestion blockage to clear and significantly alleviate symptoms.
Guaifenesin such as Mucinex can certainly break up the mucous, allowing the congestion to clear more quickly.
If You Think You Have A Sinus Infection
If you feel you are experiencing sinus infection symptoms, make an appointment with your PartnerMD physician, and do not attempt to treat symptoms on your own. While you may initially be recommended OTC treatments, only your doctor can accurately diagnose your symptoms, and prescribe the right treatment for relief.
Have a question about your sinus infection symptoms? Contact us today to see if a relationship with a concierge doctor could be beneficial.
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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.
Dont Rush To Antibiotics
The sinuses are small, hollow spaces inside the head. They drain into the nose. The sinuses often cause problems after a cold. They can also cause problems if they get blocked up from hay fever and other allergies. The medical name for sinus problems is sinusitis.
Sinus problems can be very uncomfortable. You may feel stuffed up. You may have yellow, green, or gray mucus. And you may feel pain or pressure around your eyes, cheeks, forehead, or teeth.
Each year, millions of people use antibiotic drugs to treat sinus problems. However, they usually do not need antibiotics. Heres why:
Caveats: Refer Seriously Ill Patients And Complicated Cases
A very important caveat to our recommendation is that seriously ill patients must be managed differently. Very infrequently a patient develops a serious complication of acute sinusitis such as brain abscess, periorbital cellulitis, or meningitis. Therefore, seriously ill patients with signs and symptoms of acute bacterial sinusitis, such as high fever, periorbital erythema or edema, severe headache, or intense facial pain must be carefully evaluated and treated with great caution and close follow-up. These patients should be referred immediately for consultation with an otolaryngologist.
Antibiotics No Help For Sinus Infections
Roughly 20% of the antibiotic prescriptions written in the United States for adults each year are for sinus infections. That’s an impressive statistic, given that doctors and public health officials have long doubted that antibiotics can successfully treat the condition.
A new study, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, appears to confirm those doubts: The antibiotic amoxicillin was no better than placebo at improving the congestion, cough, runny nose, pain, and other symptoms that accompany sinus infections , researchers found.
“Compared to placebo, amoxicillin doesn’t seem to provide any benefits,” says lead author Jane Garbutt, an associate professor at the Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis. “In terms of patient satisfaction, side effects, symptom relief, days missed from work, et cetera, we did not see any difference.”
Most sinus infections are caused by viruses, which don’t respond to antibiotics. But even bacterial sinus infections rarely require antibiotic treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In most cases, both types of infection go away on their own in less than two weeks.
“Most patients get better despite antibiotics, not because of them,” says Garbutt. “There is a high rate of spontaneous resolution.”
Where Can I Find Treatment To Address My Chronic Sinusitis Without Antibiotics
In order to successfully treat your sinusitis, its important to pinpoint exactly whats causing this condition. If, for example, its caused by a deviated septum, it will continue to occur until the underlying problem is corrected.
At DFW Sinus Select, we specialize in tailoring treatments that are designed to give you the best possible long-term results with minimal side effects. Were here to help you get the relief you need and help treat chronic sinus infections without antibiotics if appropriate in your particular case.
Our practice offers numerous office locations so you can conveniently access top-notch care close to home.
Its important to visit a DFW Sinus Select specialist to properly diagnose your sinus issues and receive information about the best treatment options.
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When Do I Really Need Antibiotics For A Sinus Infection
When do I really need antibiotics for a sinus infection? is a question many patients have when suffering from bothersome sinus and allergy problems. While sinus infections can be quite painful, antibiotics often do not help in treating the condition.
Sinus infections affect approximately 37 million people in the U.S. each year and can be caused by:
- Nasal polyps or deviated septum causing nasal obstruction
The majority of sinus infections are viral in nature, and antibiotics do not cure viral infections. Taking antibiotics for viral infections also will not:
- Keep you from being contagious to others
- Relieve symptoms or make you feel better
In order to distinguish a bacterial sinus infection from an infection caused by a virus or other contributing factor, your doctor will observe your symptoms and possibly conduct other tests, such as a CT scan or cultures.
Antibiotics are only effective on bacterial infections, and even in cases involving bacteria, the body can often cure itself of mild or moderate infections within a few days.
What About A Ct Scan
A CT scan is a series of X-rays. It gives your doctor a picture of your sinuses. Some doctors recommend a CT scan when you have a sinus problem. But usually you do not need a CT scan. Generally, you only need a CT scan if you have sinus problems often, or if you are thinking about having sinus surgery.
This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.
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Challenges To Implementation: The Patient Who Wants A Pill
Some patients may be accustomed to receiving an antibiotic prescription for their sinus infections and may resist conservative management. It may be difficult to convince them that antibiotics wont make a difference when they attribute past resolution of symptoms to antibiotics.
Take enough time to educate your patients on the natural course of illness, the positive benefits of nasal saline, and the reasons not to use unnecessary antibiotics this effort will save you time in future visits. A just in case you dont get better prescription to be filled only if the patient is not improving in the next few days is about 50% effective in reducing antibiotic usage for upper respiratory infections.
Sinus Infection: Signs & Symptoms + 10 Natural Remedies
About 35 million Americans suffer from a sinus infection or sinusitis every year. Sinusitis is an inflammation, or swelling, of the tissue lining the sinuses that leads to an infection. It can result in mucus build-up and pain. If youve ever experienced a sinus infection, then you know just how unpleasant it can be much worse than a stuffy nose. While in most cases, a sinus infection will simply leave you running to find a decongestant, in the worst cases, it can lead to surgery to remove an abscess that has developed or the obstruction of the sinuses.
In the United States, sinusitis is the fifth most common medical diagnosis for which antibiotics are prescribed these days. The management of acute and chronic sinusitis is also costing this country over $11 billion every year. That doesnt even include the economic impact of lost work time due to illness.
While antibioticsfor sinus infection are a very common conventional treatment, the majority of sinus infections are actually the result of colds or viruses. They will get better as your nasal congestion improves.
Thankfully, there are a lot of natural ways to treat a sinus infection, including the foods you eat , saline nasal sprays, essential oils and supplements scientifically proven to be an effective sinus infection home remedy.
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Irrigate Your Sinuses To Help Ease Symptoms And Prevent Sinus Infections
Nasal irrigation is basically a method of using a saltwater solution to force out germs and plugged-up mucus residing in the sinus passages. Other terms for this are nasal wash, nasal douche, or lavage. Some people refer to it by one of the popular devices used to get the water in, a neti pot.
A small number of studies has found irrigation can improve symptoms, including one review published in September 2016 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Experts caution that it is important to use distilled or sterile water to avoid the rare possibility of introducing a parasite into your sinus passageways.
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Latest Cold And Flu News
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
Dec. 4, 2007 — Neither antibiotics nor steroid sprays offer much help toadults with sinus infections, a British study shows.
You’ve very likely had such an infection. And if, like 25 million otherAmericans, you went to a U.S. doctor, there’s a 90% chance you got aprescription for antibiotics.
You very likely had some side effects from that antibiotic. But it’sextremely unlikely the antibiotics you took were much help, according to astudy by Ian G. Williamson, MD, senior lecturer at the University ofSouthampton, England.
“We are confident that if there is an effect of antibiotics on acutesinus infections, it is not very big — certainly not as big as people havebeen led to believe,” Williamson tells WebMD.
Williamson and colleagues studied 240 patients ages 16 and older whosesymptoms suggested that they had a sinus infection caused by bacteria. Virusesalso cause sinus infections, but antibiotics do not help viral infections.
Study patients received antibiotic treatment with amoxicillin, an antibiotic often used forbacterial sinus infections, with or without nasal steroid sprays. Afourth of the patients received no treatment at all, but just got inactiveplacebo pills and placebo sprays.
What about people who don’t get better? That remains a question.
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