The mucus blocking the sinuses mainly causes sinus infections. Treatments for sinus infections are mainly aimed at reducing the swelling in the nasal cavity and the curing the bacterial infection forming in the sinuses. Inflamed nasal passages are the reason that the mucus cannot flow in the sinuses. Medication promotes drainage in the sinuses and helps relieve the pressure that was caused by the blockage.
Medical treatment focuses on all these areas. There are nasal sprays and decongestants available over-the-counter, those are used to reduce the inflammation in the nasal passages. However, their prolonged use can make a person dependent on them to breathe more easily. Therefore, they should always be taken in moderation.
When you visit a doctor for a sinus infection, the main goal of the prescribed treatment is get rid of the bacteria residing in your sinus cavities. For this reason doctor prescribe antibiotics for a sinus infection because they relieve the symptoms, kill the bacteria and prevent it from becoming a chronic sinus infection.
Antibiotics are usually prescribed for a period between 2 to 3 weeks. You have to basically take it for one more week after the initial symptoms of the infection disappear. Most commonly these are the prescribed antibiotics for a sinus infection:
- Synthetic Amoxicillin and Penicillin
These are given to treat acute and uncomplicated cases of sinus infections. Some of their commercial names are Amoxil, Trimox and Polymox. It is best for combating causative microorganism and is not a treatment for the virus.
These antibiotics are inexpensive and can have side effects including allergic reactions and indigestion.
- Trimethoprim or Sulfamethoxazole
These antibiotics are prescribed to people who are allergic to penicillin and it contains sulfur in its chemical composition. They are commercially known by the names of Septra, Cotrim and Bactrim. People allergic to sulfur should not take these antibiotics.
- Advanced Synthetic Penicillin and Cephalosporin
People who have repeated sinus infection become immune to synthetic penicillin/amoxicillin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole antibiotics. To treat these people who have has back to back relapses of acute sinus infections or have a chronic sinus infection are given advanced synthetic penicillin and cephalosporin based antibiotics. They are known commercially by the name of Augmentin, Lorabid and Ceftin. They will treat most of the resistant organisms.
Continuous use of antibiotics causes the immune system to become resistant to even the strongest antibiotics. According to recent medical research, antibiotics should not be taken to treat sinus infections because they only treat the bacteria and not the virus. The argument in the favor of this is that viruses cause 90-98% of all sinus infections and antibiotics do not affect these viruses while just making our immune system more drug resistant.
Many doctors simply prescribe antibiotics because we want a quick fix to our problem and cannot stand to be slowed down by a long-term treatment. It is important first to determine whether it is a bacterial or a viral sinus infection. On that basis, the medication should be prescribed. For this, the doctor needs to carry out a proper checkup of the sinuses. Make sure that you get yourself properly checked before taking any medication.
Harvard University: http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/sinusitis.shtml