Go Ad-Free
logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

Don’t Rush to Antibiotics for Sinusitis

Sinusitis can cause a lot of misery for adults and children alike. As tempting as it may be to treat a sinus infection promptly with antibiotics, the American Academy of Pediatrics is telling doctors to hold off for awhile.

The experts analyzed the results of 17 randomized controlled trials and concluded that sinusitis sometimes clears up with antibiotic treatment. The new guidelines recommend that if the child is not running a fever or getting worse, pediatricians can wait several days before initiating antibiotics. That doesn’t hold, of course, if the child is quite ill.

The reason for this caution is that treatment can cause side effects, especially diarrhea and other gastrointestinal discomfort.  The doctors are also concerned that overuse will lead to antibiotic resistance and make antibiotics ineffectual when we really need them. Pediatricians have led the way with this cautious approach, pioneering a “watch and wait” tactic for ear infections. While once every ear infection was treated with amoxicillin or something similar, now many pediatricians prefer to see if the child can overcome the infection without heavy-duty drugs.

[Pediatrics, online, June 24, 2013]

Rate this article
5- 2 ratings
About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.