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When do you really need antibiotics for that sinus infection?

September 26, 2016

About the Author

photo of Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributor

Dr. Monique Tello is a practicing physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, director of research and academic affairs for the MGH DGM Healthy Lifestyle Program, clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School, and author of the evidence-based lifestyle … See Full Bio
View all posts by Monique Tello, MD, MPH


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October 19, 2016

Very Helpful information for my family because most of them are infected. After doing much research Finally, have found a useful article. Thanks

Donna OBRyan
October 6, 2016

Rarely have I taken antibiotics, .but took three rounds last winter. Regular nasal wash and allergy shots have helped. Do you recommend allergy shots and probiotics after antibiotics.?

Chicago Catt
October 1, 2016

I’m a lifelong chronic and acute sinus infection patient. I have carefully observed my symptoms and patterns over 30+ years and can tell the difference between actually getting better and double worsening, between a fleeting viral sinus infection and a bacterial sinus infection settling in for a long spell. I am fortunate enough to have a strong relationship with my primary care physician and she recognizes my self-knowledge. If I get to 10 days without relief, she will provide me with an antibiotic prescription, but I typically wait another couple days to start it to be 100% sure it’s necessary. I don’t want to jinx myself, but we’re doing something right. For the first time in my 46 years, I have gone more than 4 months without a sinus infection or even a URI. As of today, it’s 15 months! 🙂 Lots of hand washing and a daily multivitamin are also big contributors.

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
October 3, 2016

That’s wonderful! Thanks for sharing your positive experience.

September 30, 2016

I have chronic post nasal drip. Now have left forehead ache, not
severe but troublesome. Could this be sinus infection?
Should I see a MD? Many thanks for advice.

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
October 3, 2016

Hard to say, and always a good idea to be evaluated.

September 30, 2016

Of course there are some segments of the population that should not decided to wait 10 days to see what will happen. Specifically the elderly and/or immune compromised. Children who have serial ear infections, etc. Sometimes these individuals, for a variety of reasons, wait longer than they should. It would be nice to mention this in articles such as this one which give the impression that everyone should follow these suggestions.

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
October 3, 2016

I completely agree. The guidelines apply only to healthy adults. There are many patients with complicating factors who would end up with an entirely different plan, and they should discuss with their own doctor.

September 28, 2016

Thanks for the write this helpful content..very nice information for me..Thanks again..

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
September 28, 2016

Thank YOU for the positive feedback!

September 26, 2016

Good post. Being infected is a sign that the body immunity system is weak. I will suggest that antibiotics should be taken after the physician have given his/her verdict on the infection. I am not supporting self medication because some drugs does have side effects.

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