Sinus infections affect more than 35 million people a year in the United States according to www.ent-consult.com. There are three types of sinus infections: acute, chronic and reoccurring. Acute sinus infections last for about a week or so, chronic can last anywhere from six to eight weeks and reoccurring come and go over the course of time. Many approaches can be used to treat a sinus infection, the most common of which is medication.
The function of medication for sinus infections is two, or sometimes three-fold. If the infection is an isolated event, it will be treated with a prescribed oral antibiotic and a decongestant. The antibiotic is used to kill the infection and the decongestant is used to rid the sinus cavity of excess congestion and irritation. If the infection is the result of allergies, an antihistamine will be used to maintain the allergic reaction in the future.
The most common antibiotic used to treat a sinus infection is amoxicillin-clavulanate. This antibiotic is typically administered for 14 to 21 days to eradicate the infection from the body. The commonly recommended decongestant is pseudoephedrine, which has been taken off the shelf of pharmacies and placed behind the counter because of abuse. Some doctors may recommend guaifenesin, which expels excess mucus from the sinuses and chest to make drainage more effective.
Medication is the recommended way to fight off a sinus infection. Medication can attack the infection with full force and cure the symptoms of the sickness within three to four days. Without the use of medication a sinus infection can spread into the eyes, ears and even the brain causing more severe complications. Medication is the fastest and most effective way to ward off a sinus infection.
Most over-the-counter decongestants, antihistamines and mucus expellers have very few side effects. Some can cause drowsiness and dizziness while others may cause nervousness or excitability. Decongestants and mucus expellers both can cause dry mouth and may require a larger consumption of water to maintain proper hydration.
If the symptoms of the sinus infection do not clear up within 14 days of being on prescribed or over-the-counter drugs, it is advisable to see a doctor. Some antibiotics may not be effective on you if your body has built up immunity to various types. Most antibiotics should take on full effect within the first three days but must be completed as recommended by a doctor. Most over-the-counter drugs should begin working within one hour after consuming.