Sinus infection, also referred to as sinusitis, is an inflammation of the lining of the paranasal sinuses and nasal passages. As a result of swelling, regular draining of mucus is disturbed, which in turn results in excess mucus buildup and congestion of the sinuses. The identifiable symptoms of sinusitis are headache, nasal blockage, fever, and facial pain. Based on the duration of the manifested symptoms, sinus infection can be acute (less than a month) or chronic (more than 3 months).
The prime causes of sinusitis are allergic reactions, autoimmune responses, and infections by bacteria, fungi, and virus. In acute cases, home remedies are effectual to alleviate the symptoms. However, a prolonged condition may trigger medical complications, thus requiring therapeutic intervention. If sinus infection symptoms resolve within 5 - 7 days, most likely it is a viral sinusitis. While a sinusitis episode lasting for more than a week is caused by bacteria. Correct diagnosis of the infection is the first step in the treatment process, which should obviously be conducted prior to the administration of antibiotics for sinus infection.
When to Use Antibiotics for Sinusitis?
No doubt, antibiotic medications are formulated for killing bacteria, but they are not effective against virus, fungi, and allergens. With a sinusitis case, bacteria are one of the probable causes, and there are also high chances of allergies, fungal or viral infections. For those with viral and fungal attacks, there is no point in adopting antibacterial therapy. Unfortunately, some patients afflicted with sinusitis self administer antibiotics without knowing the actual cause. Also, it is a common practice to prescribe antibiotics for sinusitis. And the outcome is, persistent symptoms and increased risk of bacterial resistance to the antibiotic medication.
Proper diagnosis of sinus infection is thus a necessity before starting antibacterial treatment for sinusitis. It is proceeded by culturing the mucus from affected sinuses and examining it for presence of microorganisms. In addition, imaging studies of the paranasal sinuses are performed to identify any abnormal changes in them. Once it is confirmed that bacteria cause the problem, the physician may recommend antibacterial formulation for sinus infection. The antibiotics either stop further multiplication of bacteria or kill them. In either of the cases, taking medication and strengthening the immune system quicken the recovery period.
Some Effective Sinus Infection Antibiotics
Generally, there are two major classes of antibiotics, namely, narrow-range and broad-range types. The former is less expensive in comparison to the latter type of antibiotics. As the name suggests, narrow range antibiotics are effective for killing specific types of bacteria, whereas broad range antibiotics work against several bacterial strains. While treating sinus infection with antibacterial therapy, the physician usually prescribes the narrow range antibiotics. This minimizes the risk of developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which is a commonly reported side effect of the broad range formulation.
In order to find an appropriate antibiotic for the afflicted person, it is important to identify the causal bacterium. For this, a sample of the nasal discharge is collected and cultured in the laboratory. Based on the test results, bacterial therapy suited for the patient is recommended. As per medical data, amoxicillin (trade name Amoxil) is the most popularly prescribed narrow range antibiotic for sinusitis. However, if a patient is allergic to the Penicillin class of drugs, the physician will advocate other alternatives, like doxycycline or macrolide.
The broad range antibiotics are recommended only if the symptoms of sinusitis persist even after taking a complete course of the narrow range antibiotics. The most popularly administered broad range antibiotic for sinus infection is cephalosporin (trade name Mefoxin). Another effective drug belonging to the same class is fluoroquinolone (a type of quinolone). An easy approach to confirm bacterial sinusitis is that the symptoms will improve gradually within 2 - 3 days of starting antibacterial treatment.
An Overview about Sinus Infection Antibiotics
It is to be borne in mind that the efficacy of a particular medication may differ from one person to another. To be on the safer side, it is always advisable to take antibiotics under strict medical supervision. And irrespective of which antibiotic is prescribed, completion of the medication course as per the direction of the physician is essential to prevent recurrent sinus infections. Speaking about the side effects of taking sinus infection antibiotics, increased risk of drug resistance is the main concern. This is a serious issue as the patient will no strong respond to common antibiotics afterward.
Other reported adverse effects of taking antibiotics for sinusitis treatment are nausea, mild digestive problems, and increased chances of viral and fungal infections. It is found that half of the patients afflicted with bacterial sinusitis recover without advocating antibiotics. To sum up, these antibiotics are effective for those who really need them. So, decide whether the antibacterial medication is truly needed for sinusitis treatment or not. If the answer is yes, then proceed with the treatment strategy under strict medical supervision. Otherwise, refrain from taking medication as far as possible. After all, every allopathic treatment is associated with some health effects.