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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Antibiotic Treatment For Sinusitis
Antibiotics are labeled as narrow-spectrum drugs when they work against only certain kinds of bacteria. On the other hand, broad-spectrum antibiotics are more efficient as they fight a wide range of bacteria, but are more likely to promote antibiotic resistance. Because of this, your ENT will most likely prescribe narrow-spectrum antibiotics, which generally cost less. However, you may be recommended broad-spectrum antibiotics for infections that dont respond to treatment with narrow-spectrum drugs.
What Causes Sinus Infections
The most common cause of sinusitis are viral respiratory infections that lead to swelling and irritation of the sinuses, the most frequent being the common cold.
Other ways to contract a sinus infection include:
- Nasal polyps, or small growths in the lining of the nose, that may be asymptomatic but block the normal sinus pathways
- Any structural change to the nasal cavity, such as a deviated septum or history of sinus or nose surgery
- Hay fever causing swelling to the noses lining, usually during common allergy seasons
While sinus infections are common and most adults will experience one over their lifetimes, there are outside influences that can lead to more frequent cases of sinusitis.
Risk factors for an increased chance of a sinus infection include:
- Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
- A broken nose or other structural problems within the sinuses
- A weak immune system, or starting the cycle of a new drug that weakens the immune system
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When Do You Really Need Antibiotics For That Sinus Infection
- By Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributor
It was February, and clinic was teeming with respiratory infections of all kinds: mostly the common cold, but also bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinus infections. The patients were coming in usually thinking that they needed antibiotics for their sinus infection, or another respiratory infection.The first patient on my schedule was a healthcare provider with sinus infection written down as her main issue.* Shed had about two weeks of nasal and sinus congestion which she blamed on a viral upper respiratory infection . Her two young kids had been sick with colds all winter, so she wasnt surprised to have these symptoms, along with endless postnasal drip and a cough.
Her congestion had improved a bit at one point, and she thought that she was finally getting better. But then, the day before her appointment, she awoke with throbbing pain between her eyes, completely blocked nasal passages, and, more concerning to her, green pus oozing from her left tear duct. She had body aches, chills, and extreme fatigue. Do I maybe need antibiotics? she asked.
Which Type Of Bronchitis Is Contagious
According to bronchitis etiology, short-term or acute condition usually follows a common cold, flu, or infections of the respiratory tract, while long-term or chronic bronchitis is manifested after exposure to respiratory irritants. Yes, acute bronchitis is contagious, and no, chronic cases are not. When bronchitis is caused by infections , then only it is transmittable to other healthy individuals. Since acute bronchitis is caused due to cold, flu, and alike infections, the pathogens can transmit in the same way like common cold and influenza viruses.
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Research Into Antibiotics And Sinus Infections
The guidelines were triggered, in part, by studies finding that antibiotics may not make a difference. About 60% to 70% of people with sinus infections recover without antibiotics, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
In one study of symptom relief, patients given antibiotics generally did no better than patients not given antibiotics.
This study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, observed 240 patients with sinusitis. They were given one of four treatments: antibiotics alone, nasal steroid spray alone to reduce tissue swelling, both antibiotics and the spray, or no treatment.
Patients who got no treatment were as likely to get better than those who got the antibiotics. The nasal spray seemed to help people with less severe symptoms at the beginning of their sinus problem, and seemed to make those with more intense congestion worse.
The patients all had sinus symptoms that suggested a bacterial infection. Sinus problems are also caused by viruses, for which antibiotics definitely offer no help.
Treating A Viral Or Bacterial Sinus Infection
How you treat a sinus infection depends on whether bacteria or a virus is to blame. In the case of a viral infection, your surgeon or doctor is likely to recommend a wait and see approach, since there is no type of medicine that will kill the virus and speed up healing.
While you do have to wait for a virus to clear up on its own, there are some things you can do to make yourself more comfortable in the meantime. Your surgeon might recommend using a saline rinse in your nostrils to help clear away mucus and debris. Pain relievers can also reduce any discomfort youre experiencing due to headaches or facial pain. A pain reliever can also help lower a fever.
Medicine is available to treat a bacterial sinus infection. If your surgeon determines that bacteria is the source of your infection, he might prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria and speed up healing. Depending on the type of bacteria thats causing the infection, you might need to take antibiotics for just a few days or for a few weeks.
Theres one thing thats important to understand about antibiotics: They wont help viral infections at all. In fact, they might make things worse. While they wont exacerbate the infection, antibiotics can cause some unpleasant side effects. They can also lead to antibiotic resistance, making future bacterial infections more difficult to treat. Its important only to take antibiotics if your doctor prescribes them.
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What Is Chronic Sinus Infection
Chronic sinusitis is a long-standing inflammation of your sinuses that lasts for 12 weeks or longer at a time. Sinusitis is also known as rhinosinusitis . So, we use the two terms interchangeably. When inflamed, nasal passages and sinuses become swollen and blocked. Chronic sinusitis interferes with the normal drainage of the mucus. Too much mucus builds up in your nose and sinuses, making them stuffy.
How To Solve A Sinus Infection That Wont Go Away
Sinus infection is a common problem that can affect any age group. It represents the fifth most common condition that requires an antibiotic prescription.
Sinuses are four paired air-filled spaces in your skull and face bones surrounding your nose. Their main function is to produce mucus that forms a layer inside the sinuses to humidify inhaled air and keep the interior of your nose moisturized. This mucus layer can trap dust particles, other pollutants, or bad germs and brush them out through your nose. Each sinus drains into your nose through small openings to keep these passages clear of excess mucus and the trapped particles.
However, sometimes, such as when the weather changes and you catch a cold, it can turn into a sinus infection. This causes inflammation of your sinuses, known as sinusitis. Usually, sinusitis should go away in a few days or a week. But sometimes that sinus infection can stick around for a long time.
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What Are Complications Of A Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis
While serious complications do not occur frequently, it is possible for a sinus infection to cause a direct extension of infection into the brain through a sinus wall, creating a life-threatening emergency .
In addition, other adjacent structures can become infected and develop problems, such as osteomyelitis of bones in the skull and infection around the eye . Rarely, these infections may cause death. The most susceptible individuals to complications are patients with suppressed immune systems, diabetes, and relatively rarely from multiple trauma injuries that may occur in natural disasters.
How Long Do Sinus Infections Last
Many variables affect the duration of sinus infections. Most last more than 10 days, but when a sinus infection lasts more than twelve weeks, it is considered chronic sinusitis.
If after 10 days, your symptoms have not improved, see your primary care doctor. You may have an acute sinus infection.If it lasts four weeks, you potentially have a sub-acute sinus infection that needs more aggressive treatment.
If symptoms last over 12 weeks, youre likely dealing with a chronic infection. After such prolonged symptoms, it can be difficult to distinguish sinus headaches from migraine headaches from severe allergies. After 12 weeks, diagnosing and treating the issue requires the medical expertise of an ENT.
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Symptoms Of Sinus Infection
Sinusitis usually begins after a cold or flu. You should suspect sinusitis if the cold does not get better or worsens after 5 to 7 days. Acute sinusitis is caused by bacteria growing in the sinuses and is present for a period up to 4 weeks. Symptoms include bad breath, loss of smell, cough , fatigue, a general feeling of illness, fever, headache, pressure-like pain behind the eyes, toothache, facial tenderness, nasal congestion, nasal runniness, sore throat, and/or postnasal drip.
You may have chronic sinusitis if the symptoms last for longer than 3 months. This is usually due to bacteria or fungi in the sinuses. Symptoms are the same as in acute sinusitis, but are usually milder. They include those above, but with a high fever and darkened nasal discharge that lasts for at least 3 days, and a nasal discharge that is present for more than 10 days and is not improving.
What Are The Risk Factors
Colds are very contagious. Young children in daycare settings are especially susceptible to colds and bacterial infections, but people of any age can develop a cold or sinus infection if exposed to the germs causing infection.
Having nasal polyps or other obstructions in your sinus cavity can increase your risk for sinus infections. Thats because these obstructions can lead to inflammation and poor drainage that allows bacteria to breed.
Youre also at increased risk for a cold or a bacterial infection if you have a weakened immune system.
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Sinus Infections Not Cured With Antibiotics Study Suggests
Sinus infection sufferers know the stuffy, congested feeling might not go away without a trip to the doctors office. But according to a new study, the antibiotics that doctors often prescribe for sinus infections might be no more effective than a spray or pill on drugstore shelves.
The study raises concerns about drug resistance and whether doctors are too eager to dole out antibiotics for the common infection.
For the study, published in the Feb. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at 166 patients diagnosed with a sinus infection and gave them all a weeks supply of over-the-counter meds to relieve pain, fever, congestion, and coughing. Half of the patients were also given a 10-day course of the antibiotic, amoxicillin the other half got a placebo.
The researchers checked whether symptoms of facial pain, cough, runny nose, and post-nasal drip showed improvement by calling participants at days 3, 7, 10 and 28 of the treatment. How did the sinus infection sufferers fare?
On day 3, there was no difference in improvement between placebo-takers and those prescribed antibiotics. On day 7, the antibiotic group reported a slight improvement that the researchers said was unlikely to represent a noticeable relief in symptoms, but that edge disappeared by day 10, when 80 percent of patients in both groups reported they felt better or cured.
Sinus Infection Antibiotics No Help
Antibiotics, Steroid Spray No Help for Adult Sinus Infections
One of the most common complications of the common cold or flu is a sinus infection. The symptoms: a stuffy nose a thick, dark-colored nasal discharge and head pain.
You’ve very likely had such an infection. And if, like 25 million other Americans, you went to a U.S. doctor, there’s a 90% chance you got a prescription for antibiotics.
You very likely had some side effects from that antibiotic. But it’s extremely unlikely the antibiotics you took were much help, according to a study by Ian G. Williamson, MD, senior lecturer at the University of Southampton, England.
“We are confident that if there is an effect of antibiotics on acute sinus infections, it is not very big — certainly not as big as people have been led to believe,” Williamson tells WebMD.
Williamson and colleagues studied 240 patients ages 16 and older whose symptoms suggested that they had a sinus infection caused by bacteria. Viruses also cause sinus infections, but antibiotics do not help viral infections.
Study patients received antibiotic treatment with amoxicillin, an antibiotic often used for bacterial sinus infections, with or without nasal steroid sprays. A fourth of the patients received no treatment at all, but just got inactive placebo pills and placebo sprays.
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Rare Cases Can Turn Serious
Antibiotics also can help ward off rare but potentially dangerous complications that arise when a sinus infection spreads to the eyes or brain, Dr. Sindwani says.
Complications around the eyes are the more common of the two. These complications can cause redness, swelling around the eyes and reduced vision, and even lead to blindness in a severe form known as cavernous sinus thrombosis. Serious cases are immediately treated with IV antibiotics. Patients are usually admitted to the hospital for a CT scan to see if fluid needs to be drained, Dr. Sindwani says.
Also in rare cases, sinus infections in the rear center of ones head can spread into the brain. This can lead to life-threatening conditions like meningitis or brain abscess, Dr. Sindwani says.
Before antibiotics, people would die from sinusitis, he says. But he emphasizes that such complications are unlikely. In most cases, the bacterial infection goes away, especially if you dont have underlying medical problems.
Its important to monitor your symptoms if you suspect a sinus infection. If the condition lingers or worsens, call your doctor.
What Is The Prognosis For A Sinus Headache
Certain people develop chronic sinus inflammation and more long-standing symptoms associated with their sinusitis. Once the underlying condition is identified, preventive measures may be available and future recurrences of the sinus headache may be minimized. If the headache symptoms are not associated with inflammation of the sinuses, the underlying cause needs to be adequately addressed to relieve symptoms.
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Recommendations For Nonantimicrobial Therapy
Intranasal steroids have not been conclusively shown to be of benefit in cases of acute sinusitis. One meta-analysis of 4 double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of intranasal corticosteroid treatment in acute rhinosinusitis supports its use as monotherapy or as an adjuvant therapy to antibiotics. However, a randomized, controlled trial of antibiotics and intranasal steroid showed no treatment benefit of intranasal steroids, either alone or with antibiotics.
In a literature study, van Loon et al concluded that only limited evidence exists regarding the efficacy of intranasal corticosteroids in relieving the symptoms of recurrent acute rhinosinusitis. The best evidence, according to the investigators, came from a single study, which had a low bias risk but only moderate directness of evidence according to that report, intranasal corticosteroids may shorten the time needed to achieve symptom relief.
No available data suggest that antihistamines are beneficial in acute sinusitis. In fact, antihistamines may cause harm by drying mucous membranes and decreasing clearance of secretions. Antihistamines are beneficial for reducing ostiomeatal obstruction in patients with allergies and acute sinusitis however, they are not recommended for routine use for patients with acute sinusitis. Antihistamines may complicate drainage by thickening and pooling sinonasal secretions.
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Giving probiotic supplements to your dog while they are taking antibiotics will help restore and maintain good bacteria levels in their intestines while significantly improving immune system functioning to facilitate elimination of an infection.
Prevents diarrhea caused by antibiotic use.
Antibiotics will kill many bacterial probiotics because the Antibiotics cannot distinguish between helpful and harmful bacteria.
In fact, studies have shown that when giving S boulardii along with an antibiotic, pets are much less likely to develop diarrhea during or after the course of Antibiotics.
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Where Is The Middle Ear
The middle ear is behind the eardrum and is also home to the delicate bones that aid in hearing. These bones are the hammer , anvil and stirrup . To provide the bigger picture, lets look at the whole structure and function of the ear:
The ear structure and function
There are three main parts of the ear: outer, middle and inner.
- The outer ear is the outside external ear flap and the ear canal .
- The middle ear is the air-filled space between the eardrum and the inner ear. The middle ear houses the delicate bones that transmit sound vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear. This is where ear infections occur.
- The inner ear contains the snail-shaped labyrinth that converts sound vibrations received from the middle ear to electrical signals. The auditory nerve carries these signals to the brain.
Other nearby parts
- The eustachian tube regulates air pressure within the middle ear, connecting it to the upper part of the throat.
- Adenoids are small pads of tissue above the throat and behind the nose and near the eustachian tubes. Adenoids help fight infection caused by bacteria that enters through the mouth.