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Are Antibiotics Useless for Sinus Infections?

December 29, 2007 | 108,376 views

Antibiotics are commonly used to treat sinus infections, but a new study found that they work no better than a placebo. Further, prescribing antibiotics to sinus patients may cause harm by increasing their resistance to the medications.

In the study, researchers followed about 200 patients with sinusitis. Of the 100 who received an antibiotic, 29 percent had symptoms that lasted 10 days or more. Another 107 received a placebo, and 34 percent had similarly lasting symptoms. The difference was statistically insignificant.

The effectiveness of a nasal steroid spray for sinus infections was also tested in the study, and found to work the same as the placebo (except among a group of patients with milder symptoms, when it was slightly beneficial).

The researchers suggested that the antibiotic did not help the sinus infections because it couldn’t penetrate the pus-filled sinus cavities.

Unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics has led to enormous problems with drug resistance. Antibiotics were recently found to be ineffective against ear infections and bronchitis as well.

The researchers say the results should encourage more patients to forgo antibiotics for sinus infections.

"With a little bit of patience, the body will usually heal itself," said Dr. Ian Williamson, the study’s lead author.
 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

It’s been known since the last century that antibiotics have been proven to not help you recover from a sinus infection (sinusitis) any faster than a placebo.

Still, Americans spend nearly $6 billion every year on health care costs related to sinusitis, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Imagine if you could put some of that money back into your pocket and address a sinus infection from a foundational level.

How Sinus Infections Occur

Sinus infections occur when the mucous membranes in your nose and sinuses become irritated by a cold, allergy, pollutants or exposure to dry or cold air. This leads your membranes to become inflamed while stimulating your mucous glands to secrete more mucus than usual. As mucus accumulates in your sinuses, it can easily become infected.

But this is all on the surface.

All infections, including sinusitis, appear when certain health principles, such as eating a healthy diet, dealing with stress, and taking time to relax, are not followed.

This dampens the strength of your immune system and allows bacteria and fungus (another primary cause of sinus infections) to take hold in your nose and sinuses. And when it does, you can be left battling fatigue, sinus pressure, post-nasal drip, and thick mucus making it difficult to breathe.

Top Ways to Avoid Getting a Sinus Infection

1. Avoid eating sugar or grains, as detailed in my nutrition plan.

2. Consume good quality krill or fish oil, high in omega-3 fats DHA and EPA.

3. Eat coconut oil. Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which is known for being antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. However, be careful with which oil you choose, as many coconut oils contain fungal toxins. This is because they are commonly made with copras, or dried coconuts, which are often contaminated with mycotoxins. So in order to fully enjoy the benefits of coconut oil, you will want to be sure that you find a company that uses only fresh coconuts to make their oil.

4. Avoid eating these top 10 mycotoxic foods.

5. Get proper sleep.

6. Get regular exercise

If you suffer from sinus infections and other sinus issues often, I highly recommend you also look into the emotional origins of this problem.

Emotions are directly tied to your physical health, and new advances in this field are allowing us to pinpoint very precisely which emotional challenges are spurring your physical ones.

For instance, Dr. Ryke Geerd Hamer, the creator of German New Medicine, has shown that sinus problems are triggered by an emotional “stink conflict,” which could be a severe emotional reaction to an actual odor, or a symbolic feeling that “this situation stinks!”

The sinus infection occurs once you have resolved the emotional conflict, and is actually a part of your body’s healing process. So please do take the time to get to the bottom of any emotional problems that are ailing you.

Natural Treatments for Sinus Infections

If you’ve already come down with a sinus infection, you now know that antibiotics are probably not the answer. Taking them is unlikely to speed your recovery, and will definitely contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic-resistance.

Fortunately, there is a full arsenal of tools available at your fingertips that will soothe your symptoms and get you on the road to recovery. My past article How to Flush Away Sinus Ills details seven of them, and here are the first three:

1. Drink hot liquids, such as tea or hot chicken soup. It will help moisturize your mucous membranes, speeding up the movement of your cilia and thus washing mucus out of your sinuses more quickly.

2. Apply warm compresses to your face, three times a day for five minutes. A small towel soaked in warm water, placed over your face below and between your eyes, will help increase the circulation in your sinuses, which will also help speed up the movement of your cilia.

3. Irrigate your sinuses. (If you’ve never done this before, see the Nasal Irrigation Guidelines source link in the past article above.) Make sure you use a saline solution that does not contain benzalkonium. Benzalkonium is a preservative that can impair nasal function and might sting and burn. To make your own preservative-free saline solution, add one teaspoon of table salt to one pint of distilled water. Nettie pots are readily available and can help facilitate nasal irrigation.

[+] Sources and References

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