Normally, sinusitis symptoms improve on their own over a period of seven to ten days, since your immune system can fight the infection without need for treatment.
However, when the symptoms do not improve or if they become severe, medication may be required. Using medications for sinusitis are for the following purposes:
- Cure the infection, which is normally a result of bacteria if your symptoms persist for more than ten days.
- Minimize inflammation of the sinus and nasal tissues
- Ease pain and pressure resulting from poor drainage of the sinuses
Antibiotics are not effective in most sinusitis cases, since viruses are the leading cause of sinusitis, and viruses are not killed by antibiotics.
Still, whether your sinusitis is viral or bacterial, there are ways to ease your symptoms and feel better, including certain over-the-counter drugs.
Antibiotics are not used for most cases of sinusitis
The reason for this is that:
- Most cases of sinusitis are caused by viruses.
- Even when your sinusitis is bacterial, antibiotics will not ease your symptoms or shorten the duration you are sick.
- Using antibiotics when they are not necessary will make your body resistant to them in the future.
Do the following to relieve your symptoms:
- Drink lots of water and fluids (that must be non-alcoholic)
- Keep away from cigarette smoke.
- To relieve a clogged nose, inhale steam.
Medications to manage sinusitis symptoms
You can manage your symptoms using over-the-counter medication like:
- Ibuprofen and paracetamol to help relieve fever and pain
- Saline nasal sprays and decongestants to relieve a clogged nose
Medications for easing fever and pain
- Paracetamol for adults and children aged one month or over
- Ibuprofen for adults and children aged three months or over
- The weight of the child will determine the proper dose of ibuprofen or paracetamol.
- Certain individuals are unable to use ibuprofen and paracetamol.
- Aspirin should not be given to children less than 12 years old for fever or pain, since it can lead to severe side effects.
- Aspirin should not be given to children less than 16 years old for fever. The reason is that the use of aspirin in children is linked to Reye’s syndrome, which can lead to damage of the liver and affect brain function.
Young children are mostly affected by fever, particularly after a vaccination or if they have an RTI (respiratory tract infection). A fever does not necessarily indicate that your baby is seriously sick. Actually, a fever helps the immune system battle an infection.
There are side effects in all medicines, although the majority of individuals do not feel them or can cope with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of every medicine you use. A drug's side effects are also found printed on the leaflet that comes with the medicine.
- The medicines’ benefits outweigh any few side effects.
- After using the medicine for some time, side effects may disappear.
- Visit your doctor if side effects of a drug trouble you and you are concerned about continuing to use the medicine. The doctor may minimize your dose or replace the medicine.
Call for medical assistance immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Swelling of your throat, face, tongue, or lips
- Difficulty breathing
Visit your doctor if you experience:
- Lightheadedness or fainting
Side effects that are common include:
When are antibiotics used for sinusitis?
When your symptoms worsen or do not respond to home therapies, or when complications occur, antibiotics might be required.
- Amoxicillin is usually the first option in the treatment of sinusitis since this drug is normally successful and its side effects are few. If you suffer from mononucleosis or are allergic to amoxicillin, you should not use it.
- Individuals allergic to amoxicillin may be given trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole instead.
For the treatment of bacterial infections resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and amoxicillin, other antibiotics may be used.
How antibiotics function
Antibiotics destroy or keep off the development of bacteria that result in sinusitis.
Treating sinusitis with antibiotics is very effective and safe. Most individuals get healed totally when antibiotics are used for treatment.
The following are considered in the treatment of acute sinusitis with antibiotics:
- The duration you use the antibiotics will be determined by the type of antibiotic that is to be used, your overall health, and the severity of your sinusitis.
- If your symptoms do not get better in three to five days, an alternative antibiotic may be required.
- To improve sinus drainage, other medications may be prescribed, such as inhaled corticosteroids, decongestants, and mucolytics (medications for thinning mucus).
Treatment of acute sinusitis, which is bacterial, with the use of antibiotics is effective. Within 3-4 days after you start using antibiotics, you should notice an improvement.
The following are considered when chronic sinusitis is treated with antibiotics:
- The duration you use antibiotics will be determined by the severity of your sinusitis, your overall health, and the type of antibiotic to be used.
- The type of antibiotic you decide to use will be determined by which antibiotics have been effective to you in the past. You may use an antibiotic that was effective in treating your sinusitis in the past. A different antibiotic may be used if it was ineffective.
- To improve the drainage of the sinuses, other medications may be prescribed, such as inhaled corticosteroids, decongestants, and mucolytics.
Chronic sinusitis can go on for more than 12 weeks, and normally, antibiotics are required for three to four weeks. Despite the sufficient use of antibiotics, symptoms may persist or recur. To cure the infection, an alternate antibiotic may be required. If your symptoms fail to clear despite using antibiotics for a long time, you will likely be referred to an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist).
Things to know with regard to antibiotic treatments
If you are treating your sinusitis with antibiotics, do not quit using the medicines too soon even if you improve. You have to complete the course of the antibiotic treatment. If you fail to take the entire course of the antibiotic as prescribed, the infection may not clear up completely. Also, the antibiotic might lose its efficacy in helping you in the future.
Your physician will prescribe an antibiotic aimed at destroying the bacteria causing your sinusitis. A different antibiotic may be given if the first one does not treat your sinusitis effectively. If your sinusitis fails to get better, additional testing may be required to determine the antibiotic that will best suit you.
Medications are one way of treating a disease or illness. If you take your medicine as prescribed by your doctor, your health will improve and future complications may also be prevented. Failing to properly take your medicine puts your health and life at risk.
There are various reasons behind why some individuals have issues with taking medicine, although in most cases, something can be done to deal with the issue.
Special reminder for women
Avoid taking any medications without your doctor's prior clearance if you are planning to become pregnant, already pregnant, or breast-feeding. Certain medications can cause harm to your child. This includes vitamins, OTC medicines, supplements, and herbs. Make sure that all doctors who attend to you know that you are planning to become pregnant, already pregnant, or breast-feeding.
Check-ups are important for your safety and treatment. Make sure you do not miss any appointments, and let your doctor know if you have any problems. It is wise to understand the results of all your tests and keep a record of all the medicines you are using.
- Antibiotics are not used for most cases of sinusitis.
- To relieve the symptoms of sinusitis, one should drink lots of water or other fluids, get a lot of rest, avoid cigarette smoke and other irritants, and inhale steam to relieve a clogged nose.
- Over-the-counter medications to relieve fever and pain, and nasal sprays and decongestants to relieve a clogged nose, may be used.
- When symptoms worsen or do not respond to home therapies, or when complications occur, antibiotics might be required.