Thursday, June 20, 2024

When Do I Need Antibiotics For A Sinus Infection

Sore Throat And Hoarse Voice

Are antibiotics needed for a sinus infection?

Postnasal drip can leave you with a raw and aching throat. Although it may start as an annoying tickle, it can get worse.

If your infection lasts for a few weeks or more, mucus can irritate and inflame your throat as it drips, resulting in a painful sore throat and hoarse voice. Frequent coughing and throat clearing can make a hoarse voice worse.

When Do We Need Antibiotics For Sinus Infection

Antibiotics are not needed for many sinus infections, but your doctor can decide if you need an antibiotic. You doctor may recommend antibiotics if:

  • You have symptoms of a bacterial infection and you have not gotten better after 10 days, even with home treatment.
  • You have severe symptoms such as severe headache or facial pain, or you have other problems, such as pus forming in your sinus cavities.
  • You have had sinusitis for 12 weeks or longer .
  • You have a fever longer than 3-4 days.
  • Your symptoms get worse after initially improving.
  • Most sinus infections usually get better on their own without antibiotics. When antibiotics arent needed, they wont help you, and their side effects could still cause harm. Side effects can range from minor issues, like a rash, to very serious health problems, such as antibiotic-resistant infections and C. diff infection, which causes diarrhea that can lead to severe colon damage and death.

    When Do I Actually Need Antibiotics For A Sinus Infection

    There are several guidelines for determining if a patient actually needs antibiotics for a sinus infection. If you have thick, colorful nasal discharge and/or facial pain for at least 10 days, you meet the criteria. This does not mean if you have a slightly yellow or clear nasal discharge for 10 days having discharge from the nose for at least 4 weeks is normal in the case of sinus infections.

    The second criterion is if your symptoms have improved but then got worse again, even if its been less than 10 days. This is referred to as double worsening and is a common scenario in bacterial infections. However, even then, you may want to follow what doctors suggest as watchful waiting. Wait 2 weeks and see if symptoms got better. Use over-the-counter medications and supportive care , as they often do the trick.

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    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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    What To Do For Chronic Sinusitis

    When Do I Need Antibiotics For Sinusitis?

    If youre suffering from chronic sinusitis or you are getting frequent sinus infections you should see your doctor, says Dr. Sindwani.

    Your doctor will swab your nose to collect mucus. Culturing it in a laboratory will reveal which type of bacteria is causing the infection so the right antibiotic can be prescribed.

    Treat early sinus infection symptoms with rest, hydration and over-the-counter sprays and decongestants. But dont look for an antibiotic unless your illness extends beyond a week, he says. Then check in with your doctor for a prescription and let him or her know if your condition worsens.

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    Should You Treat A Sinus Infection With Antibiotics

    Over the past few months Ive seen patient after patient drag themselves to the clinic with coughing, sneezing, headaches and green or yellow nasal discharge, sometimes accompanied by ear and tooth pain. Some people with infection may experience fevers, chills or night sweats signs that the body is fighting a virus or bacteria. These are symptoms I expect as a primary care doctor especially during the spring seasons. They are the telltale signs of sinusitis. But if that sums up symptoms you have, do you need antibiotics? The question may be more complicated than you think.

    Each year, more than 30 million Americans endure sinusitis an inflammation of sinus spaces surrounding the nose that makes it difficult to drain fluid that normally flows through the sinuses. Much like a detective weighing clues, us health providers use symptom severity and duration to determine the cause of a patients sickness.

    The World Health Organization has called antibiotic resistance one of the biggest threats to global health, saying misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.

    At a health professionals discretion, antibiotics can be prescribed if a person appears very sick or has any underlying chronic disease that may make them prone to becoming sicker.

    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.

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    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

    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.

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    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.

    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

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    Throat Irritation And Cough

    As discharge from your sinuses drains down the back of your throat, it can cause irritation, especially over a long period of time. This can lead to a persistent and annoying cough, which can be worse when lying down to sleep or first thing in the morning after getting up from bed.

    It can also make sleeping difficult. Sleeping upright or with your head elevated can help reduce the frequency and intensity of your coughing.

    What To Expect With An Upper Respiratory Infection

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

    More than 90 percent of upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses. These infections create different symptoms at each stage. Most colds, flus and COVID-19 resolve in about a week, although some symptoms can take weeks to go away completely.

    Helen Xenos, a One Medical doctor in Chicago, describes the typical progression of the common cold:

    • Day 1: Fatigue, headache, sore or scratchy throat.
    • Day 2: Sore throat worsens, low fever, mild nasal congestion.
    • Day 3: Congestion worsens, sinus and ear pressure become very uncomfortable. It may be difficult to sleep.
    • Day 4: Mucus may turn yellow or green . Sore throat improves, but coughing begins.
    • Days 5-7: Energy and congestion improve.
    • 1 week+: Cough usually tapers off after a week, but can take up to 3-6 weeks to fully resolve.

    If your symptoms are much worse than these, such as coughing so hard you throw up, coughing up bloody mucus, difficulty breathing, or if you have a fever over 102°F, you might have something more serious going on, like pertussis or bacterial pneumonia.

    If a cold drags on for more than 2 weeks, it can turn into a sinus infection that causes pain around the eyes, nose and/or sinus headaches. Chest colds cause chest congestion and a hacking cough that drag on for a few weeks.

    The flu comes with similar symptoms but features a prominent fever, chills, headache, and body aches that usually last several days.

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    How To Treat A Sinus Infection At Home

    In the first two weeks of a sinus infection, patients may use saline sprays, over-the-counter steroid sprays like Flonase, and over-the-counter decongestants.

    After 10 days, if the drainage is still colored, an antibiotic is likely necessary. Theres no homeopathic alternative to antibiotics. However, saline spray, topical steroid sprays, and decongestants work well with antibiotics to clear most infections.

    How Can I Tell If I Need Antibiotics

    You might recognize these signs of an infection if youve had one:

    • Pain

    • Nausea and vomiting

    • Muscle aches

    But these signs wont tell you if the infection is bacterial, viral, or fungal. If you think you have an infection, youll need to visit a doctor to find out whether or not antibiotics can help treat it.

    Sometimes, your doctor can tell an infection is bacterial just by examining you and asking questions about your symptoms. In other cases, they may want to take samples and run tests to find out what type of infection it is.

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    Why Antibiotics Wont Help And Might Hurt

    Almost all URIs are caused by viruses, and at present we dont have medications that work against them.

    As for the small percentage of upper respiratory infections caused by bacteria, most go away on their own and often just as quickly even if you dont take antibiotics. So if theres a chance antibiotics can help, whats the harm?

    There are many reasons to be conscientious about taking antibiotics, including breeding resistant superbugs or making your health care cost more. However, theres another reason thats of immediate concern: diarrhea. Antibiotics can wreak havoc in your intestines and upset the normal balance of bacteria including the bacteria that help you digest food, which can lead to abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and alternating diarrhea and constipation. Taking multiple courses of antibiotics puts you at risk of potentially long-lasting effects on your gut.

    Like everything health-related, the decision about whether to take antibiotics for a bacterial infection comes down to weighing the risks and benefits. Your provider will be happy to discuss the decision with you in detail.

    What Is A Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis

    How to Treat a Sinus Infection Naturally

    Inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose is referred to as sinusitis. Sinusitis can be caused by infection , but also can be caused by allergy and chemical irritation of the sinuses. A sinus infection occurs when a virus, bacterium, or fungus grows within a sinus.

    Sinusitis is one of the more common conditions that can afflict people throughout their lives. Sinusitis commonly occurs when environmental pollens irritate the nasal passages, such as with hay fever. Sinusitis can also result from irritants, such as chemicals or the use and/or abuse of over-the-counter nasal sprays, and illegal substances that may be snorted or inhaled through the nose. About 30 million adults have “sinusitis.” Colds differ from sinusitis and are only caused by viruses and last about seven to 10 days while sinusitis may have many different causes , and usually last longer with more pronounced and variable symptoms.

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    When Should You Use Antibiotics

    You usually need an antibiotic when you have an infection that is caused by bacteria, and the infection is not going away on its own. This may be the case when:

    • Your symptoms last more than 10 days.
    • Your symptoms start to get better, but then get worse again.
    • Your symptoms are very severe. You should get immediate treatment if:
    • You have severe pain and tenderness in the area around your nose and eyes.
    • You have signs of a skin infectionsuch as a hot, red rash that spreads quickly.
    • You have a fever over 102°F.

    Common Antibiotics For Sinus Infections

    Antibiotics may be prescribed when symptoms of a sinus infection warrant such treatment. Common antibiotics for sinus infection include:

    • Zithromax
    • Levaquin : Although this drug is often prescribed as a first line of therapy for sinusitis, it has serious side effects and should only be used as a last resort.

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    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:

    Untreated Sinus Infection Risks

    Sinus Infections ache remedy

    Sinus infections often start to improve on their own after about 10 days. If your symptoms last longer without improving or if they worsen, a doctor may need to treat the underlying cause of the infection.

    If a sinus infection affects a sinus cavity close to the brain, it can spread to the brain if left untreated. Though rare, an infection can also pass into the eye socket and cause vision changes or blindness. These types of infections are more common in kids.

    While uncommon, a serious fungal sinus infection left untreated may pass into the bones.

    Make an appointment with a doctor if you have severe symptoms, or if the following symptoms last longer than 10 days or keep coming back:

    • fever
    • congestion
    • facial pain

    Because the cause of your sinus infection can affect your treatment options, its important to see a doctor for a diagnosis. The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if youre looking for a doctor.

    If you believe you have chronic or recurring sinusitis, consider asking for a referral to an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, nose, and throat specialist. You may need imaging and other tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.

    An ENT specialist can take a culture of nose drainage to better understand the cause of an infection. The ENT specialist can also examine the sinuses more closely and look for any problem in the structure of the nasal passages that could lead to chronic sinus problems.

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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

    Sinus Infection In Kids: What Parents Should Know

    • Sinusitis means infection and inflammation of the sinus cavities. The infections can be viral or bacterial and often follow colds or attacks of allergies.
    • Nine out of every ten cases of sinusitis are caused by viruses and do NOT get better with antibiotics.
    • Yellow or green mucus coming from the nose does NOT mean theres a bacterial infection. This commonly occurs with viruses as well. Sinus pressure/headaches also do not mean there is a bacterial infection.

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