Sinus Infection? Probably Not

Many visits to my urgent care and private office consist of colds and ‘sinus infections’.  People have some runny nose, congestion, post-nasal drip, a scratchy throat, a little pressure in their sinuses and they think they need antibiotics. Not entirely their fault, we’ve trained patients to expect antibiotics when they come to us for a little viral illness. It may just turn into a raging bacterial infection, but really it usually doesn’t. CYA right? Well really only about 5% of sinus infections are actually bacterial.

Most cases it hurts me to have you wait 3-4 hours to see me for me to tell you that you should just take high doses of Ester-C, make some clove tea and take a decongestant for your symptoms. To do things that you really don’t need a PA or doctor to tell you to do.

Most of the time it’s the easiest thing to do and the quickest way to get through your 30 patient day. But what if your provider actually sat down and explained to you that only about 5% of sinus infections are actually bacterial and require antibiotics?

So, if you have a week or two of runny nose, congestion, green or yellow mucus (color does not necessarily mean bacteria), pressure in your ears, teeth or face, post-nasal drip, do the following:

– Rest, take time to take care of yourself, eat lots of healthy veggies and fruits, and be good to your body

– Take high doses of Ester-C Vitamin C for a few days (if you have a history of kidney stones, check with your medical provider first)

– Make some clove or thieves tea (recipe in archive on website), drink regularly throughout the day, strong anti-viral. You can buy Thieves from here: 

– Take an otc or behind the counter decongestant, ask pharmacist for a good one based on your chronic medical history

– Use a netti-pot twice a day while you have symptoms

So unless you have a fever >100.8 for 3+ days, thick green boogers that won’t come out over 10-14 days, overall malaise or fatigue, then just treat it at home. The other thing people don’t do these days is take time to rest and wait it out. Please, if you’re sick, don’t go back to work, stress just causes your immune system to weaken even further. No easy solution kids, your body is talking to you and you better listen!

Image courtesy of marin at

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *