“Watchful Waiting” On Sinus Infections
More news outlets have begun to discuss those shifting guidelines which hold that ENTs and GPs should resist the urge to overmedicate patients who present with signs of a sinus infection. The reason? The success rate for waiting is comparable to the rate with using antibiotics.
The new guidelines are part of a larger conversation about the overuse of antibiotics generally, and our growing tendency to prescribe these powerful drugs prophylactically – a well-meaning but dangerous practice which is contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistance.
Still, the instructions are not without nuance:
The guidelines apply to acute sinusitis, in which symptoms last 10 days or more. Patients should then wait another seven days, for a total of 17 days, to see if the infection goes away on its own. If symptoms don’t improve, or worsen, antibiotic therapy should be started, the guidelines say.