Nearly one in 7 people suffer from sinus infections every year, but new guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America say most sinus infections do not require antibiotics. Viruses cause 90% to 98% of sinus infections, but antibiotics only fight bacterial infections.
Because it's hard to tell whether an infection is viral or bacterial, some doctors prescribe antibiotics like amoxicillin just in case and that's leading to drug-resistant strains of bacteria.
According to Dr. Linda Dahl of Lenox Hill Hospital, "the types of antibiotics we can offer, the range is more narrow now. Because the antibiotics that used to be offered like the Z-pac or amoxicillin just aren't really effective anymore."
The new guidelines suggest doctors wait a little longer to prescribe antibiotics and only if sinus symptoms last for 10 days or more or if there's fever and facial pain.
For patients that have very severe symptoms for 3 to 4 days with a high fever, they recommend immediate or quick treatment with antibiotics, usually with a stronger antibiotic.
Dr Dahl recommends hand-washing, but also over the counter decongestants to try to keep the sinuses clear, to avoid a worse infection.