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Allergies
Sinus Infections — Most Clear Up without Antibiotics
By
Oct 29, 2013 - 9:51:33 AM

(HealthNewsDigest.com) - ROCHESTER, Minn. - Sinus congestion and the common cold go hand in hand. Usually, congestion goes away within a week or so as the body fights off the illness. But sinus congestion and a feeling of sickness can linger and worsen, which may indicate a bacterial infection.

The October issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter covers sinus problems, including symptoms of a bacterial infection and when antibiotic treatment may help clear out the stuffiness.

Sinus inflammation (sinusitis) often begins with a cold, caused by a virus. When the sinuses become irritated and inflamed, sinus tissues swell. Expansion of these tissues can close off the ostia, the small openings that allow mucus to drain out of the sinus cavities. That blockage creates a feeling of stuffiness. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses and typically aren't recommended within the first week of developing a cold.

The stagnant, moist environment of a blocked sinus cavity gives bacteria a place to grow and thrive. If bacterial infection develops, antibiotics may have a role in treatment. It's tricky to determine whether sinusitis is caused by a virus or bacteria. The symptoms - congestion, facial pain, drainage of mucus, cough, headache and feeling unwell - can occur with both types of infections.

The likelihood of bacterial infection increases when:


  • Mucus is thick and yellow or greenish in color.
  • There is facial pain or tenderness over the sinuses, particularly if it's worse on one side of the face.
  • Pain is present in the upper teeth and is worse on one side of the face.
  • Even without antibiotics, most people can fight off a bacterial infection, especially if symptoms are mild. About 70 percent of the time, symptoms of acute bacterial sinus infections go away within two weeks without antibiotics.

    When sinusitis symptoms last seven to 10 days or more, it's a good idea to see a doctor to discuss treatment options.

    Mayo Clinic Health Letter is an eight-page monthly newsletter of reliable, accurate and practical information on today's health and medical news. To subscribe, please call 800-333-9037 (toll-free), extension 9771, or visit Mayo Clinic Health Letter Online.


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    About Mayo Clinic

    Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy of "the needs of the patient come first." More than 3,700 physicians, scientists and researchers, and 50,100 allied health staff work at Mayo Clinic, which has campuses in Rochester, Minn; Jacksonville, Fla; and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz.; and community-based providers in more than 70 locations in southern Minnesota., western Wisconsin and northeast Iowa. These locations treat more than half a million people each year. To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to www.mayoclinic.org/news. For information about research and education, visitwww.mayo.edu.

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