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Antibiotics Won't Help All Sinus Infections

By March 21, 2012

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I must admit these past few days of warm weather have been pretty delightful. But seasonal weather changes can also signal that a sinus "nightmare" is waiting to erupt. And the headaches that come with sinusitis are amongst the most painful of any headache I've had to bear. While over the counter remedies can provide some relief, many of us have sought out a physician's care, and a prescription pad.

Sinusitis is often referred to as a sinus infection. If any infection is bacterial -- antibiotics are usually the way to go. But it's often hard for a doctor to quickly determine if your sinus pain is from a bacterial infection, a viral infection or something else (like a migraine). A recent study from the Infectious Disease Society of America shows that while sinus infections are the 5th leading reason for physicians to prescribe antibiotics, they are probably ineffective in most cases because it appears most sinus infections are actually viral in nature. In fact, when antibiotics are overprescribed -- they can actually lead to antibiotic resistance, which means you can develop "superbugs" -- microbes that are so strong they won't respond to antibiotics.

The authors propose guidelines for treating pain related to sinus infection that include irrigating the nose with saline and taking acetaminophen for the pain -- but laying off antibiotics...

Do you suffer from seasonal sinusitis and sinus headaches? How do you cope with the pain? What do you do for treatments? We want to know...

March 29, 2012 at 11:57 am
(1) Lyle Henry says:

For those who suffer from migraines, many times what feels like a sinus condition is misdiagnosed and mistreated. Since the he blood vessels and nerve endings involved in a migraine surround the sinus cavity, even a low grade migraine can put pressure and sinuses and make it feel like an infection. A general role may be if there is not snot it is not an infection.

To learn more about migraines and sinuses, see http://tuliv.com/Migraines_and_Sinus.aspx

March 29, 2012 at 2:20 pm
(2) charlotte says:

I suffered for many years from what I thought were sinus problems only to find out they were actually migraines. They can mimic sinus headaches. I can now get some relief and I am no longer taking over the counter sinus meds.

March 29, 2012 at 10:20 pm
(3) tessarina says:

All I know is that the chronic sinus problems lead to lung infections and respiratory issues. I do nasal washes and mucinex. If you have a problem for
5 months, isn’t that a lot of time? Pain I can deal with, but what about the infection in your body? What about ear aches and Bell Palsy? Should you let it go for a long time? I can’t believe the discharges I have. Of course, being atypical CF doesn’t help me with infections. My infections at one time went into serratia, aspergillous, non T.B (but similar) and klebscilla. Is that good?

March 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm
(4) terrarina says:

I get migraines too. Thanks for the nerve related comment above. I had no idea why nerves are going off in my ear area, head and face.

My migraines tend to go from auras to my eye and head. However, I have other types too. As I aged, my migraines changed. Now, they have pain, nerve sensations and inability to think. I can’t believe how many I have had in the last few years. Almost a half a year of migraines… What’s with the dizzy spells, ringing or loud ear noises…? I hope this does not get worse.

Sinuses, migraines and spinal issues, I deal with it and still exercise and hike. But, it would be nice to go without!

Is there any evidence that head injuries add to migraines? I got them right after a head injury when the car was hit by a red light runner.

April 12, 2012 at 11:14 pm
(5) bobbi mendelson says:

I have been plagued with sinus infections and those headaches are resistant to analgesics which are heavy duty. I was told by the infectious disease MD. that Neti pots & irrigation will undermine the immunity after 1 year. I had 2 rare infections which were from Chinese rice paddies & Iraq desert strorm. I was never in contact with any of them. I was told to refrain from any antibiotic. I used align, probiotic & Swiss Aire humidifier with silver microtechnology. It helped & I healed . However I am still sensitive to that issue.

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