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Is Your Recurring Sinus Infection Immune to Antibiotics?

What is recurrent sinusitis?

Sinusitis is one of the most common health conditions in America, affecting nearly 30 million people every year. Most diagnosed sinus infections go away on their own, or are very easily treatable with a round of antibiotics. But what about those persistent infections that just keep coming back?

Recurrent sinusitis is defined by three or more sinus infections in a year. If left untreated, the frequency of infections can be serious. Since sinus infections cause your nasal cavities to become irritated and inflamed, failing to properly treat this symptom can damage the mucous membranes and make you more vulnerable during future infections.

When and why are antibiotics prescribed?

Often, a sinus infection is the result of a cold, which is caused by a virus. Since antibiotics have no effect on viruses, they are not recommended for treatment within the first seven days of developing a cold or any other viral infection.

On the other hand, swollen sinus tissue may cause the ostia (the small openings that allow mucus to drain from the sinus cavities) to become blocked. Not only does this blockage contribute to the “stuffy” feeling we experience, it may also allow bacteria to grow and thrive. Antibiotics are very effective at battling bacterial infections.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to determine whether an infection is caused by a virus or bacteria. Common symptoms like congestion, facial pain, headache, cough, and mucus drainage can occur with both types of infection.

A bacterial infection is more common when symptoms last over seven days, or if they improve and then worsen.

How does immunity happen?

Immunity or resistance happens not to the sick person, but to the bacteria itself that is responsible for the infection.

Antibiotics work to kill, or at the very least inhibit the growth of, bacteria in order to eliminate infection. After the susceptible bacteria are killed, a subpopulation of bacteria is left behind that are resistant to the antibiotic.

Immunity usually happens with overuse or misuse of an antibiotic. To protect yourself from becoming immune, you should take antibiotics only when prescribed by your doctor. If you are prescribed antibiotics, it’s important to take the entire course, even if you begin to feel better.

For more information about recurring sinusitis or antibiotic immunity, contact Marvel Clinic at 931-230-7056.

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