Anyone who has ever suffered through a sinus infection knows just how painful and miserable they can be. Symptoms like face pain and post nasal drip (YUCK!) make it hard to sleep, let alone work or perform daily duties. Not only that, but you may have noticed how long these nasty infections linger and how pesky they can be to get rid of . . . even after a round of antibiotics.

It turns out that there’s a good reason for this, and that Z-pack your doc has been describing is doing no good – no good at all, I say! A recent study, as published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, has found that antibiotics don’t really work on sinus infections.

Now, before you get all up in arms over all those unnecessary prescriptions you’ve endured over the years; let’s take a look at what the experts have to say.

Details of the Study

The research involved a randomized clinical trial performed by Dr. Jane Garbutt, research associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and her team. The study included 166 adults who had been diagnosed with acute sinusitis. Some were given a 10-day round of antibiotics while others were given a placebo.  All of them were given medications to help treat other symptoms such as fever, pain, cough and congestion as needed. Interviews done after three, seven, 10, and 28 days showed that all of their symptoms cleared up at almost the same rate; and by the end, the rate of recovery was the same.

Why Antibiotics Won’t Help a Sinus Infection

Most sinus infections are viral as opposed to bacterial which is why antibiotics won’t help.  Even though the current guidelines in the U.S. recommend antibiotics only for those who are suffering from moderate to severe symptoms, research has shown that one in five prescriptions written for adults are because of sinus infections.

Something about that doesn’t add up, and the researchers were obviously concerned.

The reason for this study in the first place was to further highlight the increase in bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics. The results make it clear that we, as a nation, are prescribed antibiotics unnecessarily. And it’s harming us in the long-run.

What to Do About Your Sinus Infection

Any sinus infection that lasts more than two weeks or suddenly gets worse should be checked out by a doctor. However, most sinus infections will eventually clear up on their own, without antibiotics or any other treatment.

Fortunately, there are natural ways to help treat your sinus infection and symptoms at home while you ride it out. These include saline irrigation (such as Neti Pots and others found at the drugstore), as well as alternative and over-the-counter treatments for congestion and fever.

And, remember to listen to the long-trusted advice of your mother and get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids to help get you through your next bout with sinusitis.

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