Doctors scale back antibiotics for sinus infections
Treatment options changed
Last Updated: 245 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - Hoosiers suffering from sinus infections who expect their doctor to dole out antibiotics may walk away empty handed.
Starting this fall, there are new treatment guidelines to help the estimated 45 million Americans who suffer from sinus infections when temperatures cool off.
Even though 98 percent of sinus infections are caused by a virus, which aren't helped by antibiotics, doctors have been prescribing them anyway for decades, fueling the creation of a drug-resistant super bacteria.
That's prompted doctors to rethink how to treat patients suffering from sinus infections.
"When you go to the doctor and almost expect an antibiotic, that's not going to be the result you're going to end up with," said Dr. Jeremy Kirk, a hospitalist with Hendricks Regional Health. "They've really tried to cut down on the use and the prescriptions of antibiotics to help deter and kind of reduce the actual multi-drug resistant bacteria that now in the hospital we are running into."
Kirk said Hoosiers should see a doctor if their symptoms last for more than 10 days or if they have facial pain, high fever and severe discharge lasting three days.
Otherwise, use an over-the-counter saline rinse, rest and drink plenty of fluids, he advised.
"With the increased production of drainage, with the increased fevers, people get dehydrated very quickly," Kirk said. "When you get dehydrated, your immune system just doesn't work appropriately. So, keeping fluids up allows your defense system to work the best."
Sinus infections are the most common chronic illness in people between the ages of 18 and 45. Only a small percent can be treated with antibiotics.
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