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
What Decongestants And Nasal Sprays Soothe Or Cure Sinus Infections Or Sinusitis
Taking decongestants and mucolytics orally may be helpful in assisting drainage of sinus infection.
The treatment of chronic forms of sinus infection requires longer courses of medications, such as Augmentin, and may require a sinus drainage procedure. This drainage typically requires a surgical operation to open the blocked sinus under general anesthesia. In general, antihistamines should be avoided unless it is felt that the sinusitis sinus infection is due to allergies, such as from pollens, dander, or other environmental causes.
It is likely that the use of a topical nasal steroid spray will help reduce swelling in the allergic individual without the drying that is caused by using antihistamines although both are occasionally used. Oral steroids may be prescribed to reduce acute inflammation and to help with chronic inflammation in cases with or without polyps and in allergic fungal sinusitis.
In many people, allergic sinusitis develops first, and later, bacterial infection occurs. For these individuals, early treatment of allergic sinusitis may prevent the development of secondary bacterial sinusitis.
In rare instances or in natural disasters, fungal infections may develop in debilitated people. Death rates of 50%-85% have been reported for patients with these sinus infections. Treatment relies on early diagnosis followed by immediate surgical debridement, antifungal drugs, , and stabilizing any underlying health problem such as diabetes.
What Causes Chronic Sinus Infection
Multiple factors acting together usually contribute to chronic sinusitis.
People with allergies are more prone to develop chronic sinusitis. About one in five people with chronic sinusitis also have asthma. This is because the linings of your nose and sinuses are in continuation with the linings of your lungs. These people are also likely to have nasal polyps .
A bacterial or viral infection can also trigger the condition. The infection is often low grade. The bacteria confine themselves in stubborn biofilms, making it difficult for your immune system or antibiotics to find and attack them.
An overlap of additional factors such as smoking, environmental pollutants, and deviated septum, further complicate the picture of chronic sinusitis.
It would be more appropriate to say that if youre already prone to allergies and nasal polyps, it becomes easier for harmful bugs, especially fungi to penetrate your sinuses. Likewise, a weak immune system makes you more susceptible to catch bacterial, viral, or fungal sinus infection.
A sinus that is inflamed and swollen can no longer sweep away the excess mucus and harmful agents due to the blockage of tiny hairs that facilitate this function.
You May Like: Best Sinus Spray For Post Nasal Drip
Also Check: Do You Get Antibiotics For Strep
Antibiotics And Sinus Infections
When a sinus infection hits, it seems worse than what you remembered from the last time you had one. This may give you the idea that you need antibiotics, but most clear up without them. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses and aren’t recommended within the first week of developing a cold. About 70% of sinus infections go away within two weeks without antibiotics.
Consider these other forms of treatments instead of antibiotics:
- These medications are available for over-the-counter purchase. Be careful to only take these medications for a few days at most, as they can cause the return of more severe congestions.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers Aspirins, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve temporary pain.
- Saline nasal spray This is used to spray into your nose several times a day to rinse your nasal passages. It can help to prevent and treat inflammation.
Antibiotics only will be needed if the infection is severe, recurrent or persistent.
The likelihood of bacterial infection increases when:
- Symptoms last seven days or more, particularly when symptoms initially improve and then worsen.
- Mucus is thick and yellow or green in color.
- There is facial or sinus tenderness, particularly if it’s worse on one side of the face.
- Pain is present in the upper teeth and is worse on one side of the face.
If the infection becomes severe, recurrent or persistent, contact your provider.
When Do Symptoms First Appear
The symptoms of a sinus infection often come on suddenly. COVID-19 symptoms can develop more gradually 2 to 14 days after exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
Viruses that cause a cold or flu tend to circulate in the fall and winter months. COVID-19 can occur any time of the year. While a sinus infection could develop following COVID-19, this hasnt yet been reported by research.
A sinus infection can also occur after exposure to allergens or irritants, such as pollen, pet dander, and cigarette smoke. If you have allergies or were recently around an irritant, you may be at risk for a sinus infection.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Sinus Pressure Migraine
Recommended Reading: Uti Not Going Away After Antibiotics
What Are The Types Of Sinusitis
There are two types of sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis is a temporary swelling of the sinuses. The mucous membranes inside your nose, sinuses, and throat swell. This could happen when you have a cold or allergies. The swelling blocks the sinus openings and prevents normal mucus from draining. This causes mucus and pressure to build up.
Chronic sinusitis occurs when symptoms become more frequent or worse. Sinus infections may cause long-term sinus inflammation and symptoms. If you have more than three sinus infections in a year or have symptoms longer than 12 weeks, you could have chronic sinusitis.
When To Use Antibiotics To Treat A Sinus Infection
Antibiotics only work against bacterial infections, so the best time to use them for a sinus infection is when you and your doctor suspect bacteria caused the infection.
Otherwise, you may be at risk for unwanted side effects or even antibiotic resistance.
When this happens, bacteria outsmart the medications designed to kill them, and the antibiotics no longer work when you need them.
That said, it can be hard to know whether a sinus infection is viral or bacterial.
Some scenarios, such as an infection that persists longer than 10 days or an infection that goes away and then returns, may indicate a bacterial infection and prompt a provider to prescribe antibiotics.
In some cases, a healthcare provider may also treat a sinus infection with antibiotics as a precaution to prevent complications in people with compromised immune systems that cant easily fight off infections.
If your doctor prescribes antibiotic treatment, follow their instructions.
Take the antibiotics at the same time every day. If you miss a dose, take it when you remember or, if its close to your next dose, wait until then and take one dose.
Do not double up on antibiotics doses.
If you experience unwanted side effects of antibiotics, your sinus infection isnt improving, or you develop new symptoms, contact your healthcare provider, who can help you figure out whats going on.
While sinus infections usually dont cause major medical problems, they can have severe symptoms and other complications.
Read Also: Are Antibiotics Hard On Your Liver
Most Sinus Infections Dont Require Antibiotics
Ah, sinus infections. The New England Journal of Medicine published a clinical practice review of acute sinus infections in adults, that is, sinus infections of up to four weeks. The need for an updated review was likely spurred by the disconcerting fact that while the vast majority of acute sinus infections will improve or even clear on their own without antibiotics within one to two weeks, most end up being treated with antibiotics.
It is this discrepancy that has clinical researchers and public health folks jumping up and down in alarm, because more unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics mean more side effects and higher bacterial resistance rates. But on the other hand, while 85% of sinus infections improve or clear on their own, theres the 15% that do not. Potential complications are rare, but serious, and include brain infections, even abscesses.
How Do I Prevent Acute Sinusitis
Do not smoke. Smoking is not good for you or for people around you, since this can cause mucous to become clogged in the nose/sinuses. Avoid being around second-hand smoke, as well as other triggers like animal dander, dust, mold and pollen. Take pains to prevent sinus and other infections by:
- Washing your hands well before and after eating and after using the bathroom.
- Staying away from sick people.
- Treating your allergies, possibly with nasal steroid therapy or immunotherapy .
- Keeping your body and your immune system in good shape by eating well and staying hydrated.
- Using a humidifier if your house is dry or an air purifier. Make sure to clean your equipment regularly.
- Irrigating your nose when necessary with a saline rinse.
Read Also: Antibiotics Used To Treat Mrsa Infection
How Is Sinusitis Treated
Your treatment will depend on the cause of your sinusitis. Most of the time, treatment includes medicines and taking care of yourself at home. Medicines that are used most often include:
- , such as Sudafed, that are taken as pills or liquids. These can reduce swelling and improve sinus drainage.
- Over-the-counter pain medicine, such acetaminophen or ibuprofen .
- Antibiotics, which kill bacteria. Antibiotics will only work if your sinusitis is caused by bacteria. Most of the time, sinusitis is caused by a virus.
When To Consider Antibiotics For Sinus Infections
AAAAI advises that antibiotics for sinus infections should be considered only if you develop a fever of 102° F or higher, you have severe face pain and tenderness, your symptoms last longer than a week or so, or your symptoms improve and then worsen again.
Some patients with acute sinusitis do need antibiotics, and if they continue with a worsening infection without treatment, they can suffer dramatic complications such as loss of vision, meningitis, or brain abscess, Patel says.
If your doctor says you need an antibiotic, ask for generic amoxicillin/clavulanate, according to guidelines from UpToDate, which provides evidence-based treatment information to healthcare providers. Its usually the best choice and works as well as more expensive brand-name antibiotics.
Avoid taking fluoroquinolones, a group of antibiotics that includes ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin . Although widely used, the antibiotics are inappropriate for treating sinus infections and they pose serious risks.
In 2016, after a safety review, the Food and Drug Administration linked fluoroquinolones to disabling and potentially permanent side effects. The agency advised against using the drugs to treat common illnessesbronchitis, sinus infections, and urinary tract infections.
Recommended Reading: Will Minocycline Treat Sinus Infection
You May Like: Can A Doctor Prescribe Antibiotics For Tooth Infection
Who Is At Risk For A Sinus Infection
Anyone can develop a sinus infection. However, certain other health conditions and risk factors can increase your chances of developing one, such as:
- a deviated nasal septum, when the wall of tissue that runs between your right and left nostrils displaces unevenly to one side
- a nasal bone spur
It may be difficult for parents to detect a sinus infection in their children. Signs of an infection include:
- cold or allergy symptoms that dont improve within 14 days
- thick, dark mucus coming from the nose
- a cough that lasts longer than 10 days
Symptoms of acute, subacute, and chronic sinus infections are similar. However, the severity and length of your symptoms will vary.
You May Like: Over The Counter Antibiotics For Diarrhea
Can I Become Immune To The Antibiotics Used To Treat A Uti
Your body can actually get used to the antibiotics typically used to treat a urinary tract infection . This happens in people who have very frequent infections. With each UTI and use of antibiotics to treat it, the infection adapts and becomes harder to fight. This is called an antibiotic-resistant infection. Because of this, your healthcare provider may suggest alternative treatments if you have frequent UTIs. These could include:
- Waiting: Your provider may suggest that you watch your symptoms and wait. During this time, you may be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids in an effort to flush out your system.
- Intravenous treatment: In some very complicated cases, where the UTI is resistant to antibiotics or the infection has moved to your kidneys, you may need to be treated in the hospital. The medicine will be given to you directly in your vein . Once youre home, you will be prescribed antibiotics for a period of time to fully get rid of the infection.
Also Check: Can You Get Antibiotics At Walgreens
What Is The Use Of Goldenseal For Umbilical Cord
Goldenseal uses to prevent any kind of umbilical cord inflammation. Herbs such as goldenseal rhizosphere granules, dry thyme, and dried orris root can be peppered on the babys stump. Healthcare practitioners swear by the antimicrobial activities of herbal ingredients to help prevent infection. Dried basil may also aid in the stumps removal.
Evidence suggests that umbilical cord stump treated with herbs started falling off around day three rather than the primary 12 weeks. Prone to bacterial pollutants, the FDA advises medical practitioners not to use goldenseal root powder repurposed and dispersed by Maison Terre, Little Rock, Arkansas. Even if the herbs are immersed in water, they will start to repair the cord.
What Is A Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis
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 âsinusitis.â 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.
Donât Miss: Oral Antibiotics For Eyelid Infections
Recommended Reading: How To Stop Itching From Antibiotics
Best Antibiotic Treatment For Sinus Infection
Physicians frequently recommend ten to 14 days of amoxicillin or amoxicillin-clavulanate treatment when a person has bacterial sinusitis.
However, amoxicillin is less effective in some areas because of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In these cases, a physician could recommend using another antibiotic when there is no improvement in sinusitis symptoms after a couple of days.
Some alternatives to treat sinusitis include:
Is Your Sinus Infection Caused By A Virus Or Bacteria
Physicians may not know if sinusitis is bacterial or viral, because the diagnosis is typically done by observing symptoms. Symptoms include:
- Nasal congestion
- Thick nasal or post-nasal drainage
Sometimes other tests such as computed tomography scan or cultures are used to help make the diagnosis.
Despite the recommendations that antibiotic use be judicious, they are still overused for sinusitis, according to many physicians who specialize in treating sinus problems.
Some physicians say they give patients with sinusitis a prescription for antibiotics, and recommend they wait three to five days before filling it, and only fill it if symptoms are not better by then. A can be used to help relieve your symptoms and promote drainage.
The longer symptoms last, the more likely a sinus problem is to be a bacterial infection, some experts say.
Read Also: Can Antibiotics Cause Hearing Loss
Most Common Antibiotics Used For Sinusitis
The most commonly recommended antibiotic for acute, uncomplicated bacterial sinusitis is amoxicillin.
Its most effective when the patient takes it frequently enough to maintain adequate levels in the infected tissue. Often, doctors prescribe it twice daily, though three or four divided doses can be even more effective. Amoxicillin is usually prescribed for seven to ten days. While it is crucial to finish the entire ten-day course of antibiotics for strep throat, shorter courses could be sufficient for several cases of sinusitis.
Azithromycin is an alternate treatment option for those who are allergic to amoxicillin. The primary benefit of azithromycin is expediency. The suggested treatment for acute bacterial sinus infections is 500 mg once daily for three days. Unlike amoxicillin, azithromycin is even more effective when doctors prescribe a sizeable single dose instead of spreading the doses out.