“Sinus Infections May Not Require Antibiotics”

Most people prescribed antibiotics for sinus infections are treated for 10 days or longer, even though infectious disease doctors recommend 5 to 7 days for uncomplicated cases. But, is this necessary or recommended? A sinus infection, called acute rhinosinusitis, is inflammation of the nasal and sinus passages that can cause uncomfortable pressure on either side of the nose and last for weeks. Most sinus infections develop during or after a cold or other upper respiratory infection, but other factors such as allergens and environmental irritants may play a role. Nearly one in seven people are diagnosed with a sinus infection each year. The vast majority of sinus infections are caused by viruses and should not be treated with antibiotics, suggest new guidelines released by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) in 2012. Although sinus infections are the fifth leading reason for antibiotic prescriptions, 90 to 98 percent of cases are caused by viruses, which are not affected by antibiotics. Used inappropriately, antibiotics foster the development of drug-resistant superbugs. Common side effects of antibiotics can include rash, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and yeast infections. More serious side effects may include life-threatening allergic reactions and Clostridium difficile infection.

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