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.