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Antibiotics for sinus infection

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I have this sinus infection and I've started taking it on Wednesday and I have to continue for a week. It's been a couple of days now and nothing has changed. Should I continue taking antibiotics?

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Category: Family Physician-GP
Dr. John Monheit is online now

Expert:  Dr. John Monheit replied 4 Days.

Thank you for consulting at Doctor spring. I understand that you have been diagnosed with a sinus infection and prescribed an antibiotic but you are worried that there has been no improvement even after taking it for a couple of days.

Sinuses are basically hollow areas in the skull which are naturally present in everyone. They are lined by mucous membrane that is similar to the lining if the insides if the nose or throat. They could become infected as a part of infection of rest of the upper respiratory tract or it may be because the sinus is unable to drain it’s secretions into the nose because its opening is blocked. This condition of inflammation of the sinuses is called sinusitis. It may be an acute or a chronic condition.

The symptoms of sinusitis include headache, tenderness over the region of the sinus affected, nasal discharge, stuffiness, cough, and sore throat.

Sinusitis can be diagnosed with clinical signs and symptoms. It sometimes may be necessary to take an X-ray or CT scans. Especially in cases of recurrent sinusitis the doctor may require a CT scan to see whether the anatomy of the nose is normal.

If the sinusitis is suspected to be due to viral causes, it is treated symptomatically with analgesics and anti- histaminics to reduce the headache. Nose drops containing phenylephrine or xylometazoline are used to relieve nose block. But if there are grossly purulent secretions, there may be a need to prescribe an antibiotic. Depending on the common organisms causing sinusitis, Amoxicillin is considered the first drug for uncomplicated sinusitis. Many doctors prescribe Amoxicillin with clavulanic acid as a first line due to reports of drug resistance. Other drugs with are used are Cefixime, Azithromycin, Cotrimoxazole etc.

Make sure you have purchased the medication in the right dose prescribed to you and that you are taking it the right number of times in the day i.e. twice daily or thrice daily. It is usually necessary to treat a sinus infection for 10 to 14 days. Antibiotics take some time to act but if you have taken them for five days and the colour of the sputum has failed to change, it is possible that the strain of bacteria that have affected you are resistant to the antibiotic you are receiving. So visit your doctor and he should be able to change the antibiotic. Hope this information was of use to you.

Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
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