A British study suggests that routine sinus infections are not helped by the antibiotics and other medicines that are regularly prescribed.
The study tested amoxicillin, steroid nose spray, and fake medicine on people suffering from symptoms of acute sinusitis. Results showed that the drugs did nothing to speed recovery.
Dr. Vinceza Snow, director of clinical programs and quality care at the American College of Physicians, states that the drugs ‘don't really change the course of the illness.’ She also adds that drugs designed to treat bacterial sinus infections have a hard time even reaching the sinuses.
This confirms the conviction voiced in guidelines issued in 2001 by a U.S. group of physicians. The guidelines advise against using antibiotics for most sinus infections in healthy people, and blamed overuse for contributing to the increase in drug-resistant bacteria.
Sinus infections affect about 31 million Americans every year. Allergy sufferers are particularly prone to develop them. Sinus infections can also trigger asthma attacks.
Rather than prescribing antiobiotics, Dr. Ian Williamson of the University of Southhampton in England says that ‘physicians can focus on effective remedies that improve symptom control,’ including over-the-counter pain killers.
Furthermore, he states that inhaling steam and flushing out thick mucous by squirting saline solutions into the nose also provide realief.
The Mayo Clinic suggests similar sinus infection care in its Acute Sinusitis Treatment section. In addition, the Clinic advises ‘treating an underlying allergic condition that contributes to sinusitis.’
As in many allergy relief regimens, environmental control is key. Exposure to mold increases the risk of upper respiratory infections that often lead to sinus infections. Clean moldy areas of your home, making sure to wear a mask to protect you from inhaling spores.
Dry air in the home, such as that created with the use of forced hot air heat, is also known to contribute to sinus infections. A humidifier may help prevent sinusitis by adding moisture to the air.
If symptoms develp even while taking these precautions, self-care is usually effective:
- Make sure to drink plenty of fluid to dilute mucous and promote drainage.
- Avoid alcohol, which can worsen the swelling of the lining of the sinuses and nose.
- Consider taking over-the-counter decongestants.
- Moisturize and flush sinus cavities.
See Dr. Wellington S. Tichenor, M.D., on Sinusitis Treatment for more information. Also visit Sinus Relief Products for more sinus infection relief products.