‘Tis the season for sinus infections, but next time you get one, you might want to forgo the often unpleasant experience of taking antibiotics. A new study from Washington University in St. Louis, which appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that antibiotics did not reduce symptoms of the most common type of sinus infection (called rhinosinusitus) any faster than a placebo did.
Researcher Dr. Jane Garbutt describes why antibiotics are given out so often, even if they're not effective: "I think patients feel awful, and they want something to feel better quickly. And physicians want to treat the patient. Everyone is between a rock and a hard place." That must be it, because one in five adult prescriptions in the U.S. are for antibiotics to treat sinusitis. Good to know we've all been dosing ourselves uselessly for all these years! It is important to note that there are certain types of bacterial sinus infections which could be helped by antibiotics, but the most common kind is caused by a virus—and won't respond to the meds. So next time you're feeling stuffy, you're better off trying to fight off the infection on your own.
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