Antibiotic Awareness: Head Cold or Sinusitis

Antibiotic Awareness: Head Cold or Sinusitis


(upbeat electronic music) – Sinusitis is caused by
a virus or a common cold. That means most sinusitis, also known as a head cold, will get better
without antibiotics. I’m Doctor Wendy Sue Swanson, and in partnership with the Washington State
Department of Health, I’m here to talk to
you about sinusitis. The most important information
for you to remember is that most head
colds or sinusitis do not need treatment
with antibiotics. In fact, antibiotics
can do more harm by killing off
the good bacteria. And they can increase
antibiotic resistance. How do you tell the difference between bacterial sinusitis and viral sinusitis
or a head cold? Both viral and bacterial
sinusitis start with symptoms of
the common cold, such as a low grade fever, nasal discharge, congestion, sneezing, and coughing. However, bacterial
sinusitis is more likely when symptoms of congestion, nasal discharge, and sinus pressure last for more than 10
days without improvement, worsen after having
initially improved, severe from the onset, accompanied by a fever higher
than 39 degrees Celsius or 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit, and last for three of more days. And that’s when it may
require antibiotics. Viral sinusitis or a head cold may cause severe congestion, colored nasal discharge, and fever. But the fever
usually does go away after a couple of days and congestion is usually
improving by day 10. Most viral sinusitis
or head colds can be treated at home
without antibiotics. Home treatments for a head cold include taking it
easy for a few days, nasal irrigation with
saline or sterile water, drinking warm liquids, and taking acetaminophen
or ibuprofen as needed for fever or pain. Even some mild
bacterial sinusitis may improve without antibiotics. Thanks for listening to this information
about sinusitis and avoiding antibiotics
whenever we can. I’m Doctor Wendy Sue Swanson, in partnership with Washington
State Department of Health. (upbeat electronic music)

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