Antibiotics Mostly Useless for Sinusitis

The Washington Post reports that antibiotics won't necessarily speed your recovery if you develop a sinus infection this winter.

‘In the vast majority of cases, rhinosinusitis is a self-limiting disease,’ says Dr. An De Sutter, of Ghent University Hospital in Belgium. ‘It can last 10 days or longer, but antibiotics do not influence the course of the disease.’

While 50-70% of sinusitis patients are prescribed antibiotics, the drugs can only effectively treat bacterial sinusitis; they are ineffective against viral or fungal sinusitis.

Instead of prescribing antibiotics, doctors should focus on symptom relief: paracetamol for pain relief and intranasal decongestants in case of a blocked nose, De Sutter suggests. ‘Some patients experience subjective relief by inhaling hot steam,’ she adds.

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