Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Antibiotics useless for most sinus infections (yet we keep handing them out like candy, creating deadly resistant bacteria and viruses)

Nearly all people who have sinus infections don’t need antibiotics, according to new guidelines for doctors.

Sinus infections are the fifth leading reason why doctors prescribe antibiotics. But 90 to 99 per cent of cases are caused by viruses that antibiotics won't help.

"There is no simple test that will easily and quickly determine whether a sinus infection is viral or bacterial, so many physicians prescribe antibiotics 'just in case,'" said Dr. Anthony Chow, chair of the guidelines panel and professor emeritus of infectious diseases at the University of British Columbia, in a release.

“If the infection turns out to be viral — as most are — the antibiotics won't help and in fact can cause harm by increasing antibiotic resistance, exposing patients to drug side effects unnecessarily and adding cost." Read More