Published on February 14th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Antibiotics May Not Help Sinus Infections, Researchers Advocate ‘Watchful Waiting’ Instead
Over the past few years in particular, the rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of certain bacteria has been- in a word- terrifying.
Overuse of antibiotics has certainly contributed to this grave medical issue, and doctors have increasingly been voicing concern over use of antibiotics where they may not be necessary. One common application of antibiotics is to treat a sinus infection, and a new study examines whether that particular approach is causing more harm than good.
The difficulty comes down to the cause of sinus infections- some may be bacterial, but like colds, some may be viral and not responsive to antibiotics. Jane Garbutt of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis led the study, and she explains:
“There is not much to be gained from antibiotics [for sinus infections.] Rather than give everybody an antibiotic hoping to find the [ones] with bacteria, our findings would suggest refraining from antibiotics and doing what we call watchful waiting.”
“[Sinus infections are] the fifth most common reason antibiotics are prescribed for adults. It’s hard for doctors not to give an antibiotic because patients are so miserable, and we don’t have anything else to give them.”
Studies have demonstrated less than two percent of sinus infections are bacterial.