Do Antibiotics Do More Harm Than Good For Sinus Infections In Kids?


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If you’re the proud anxious parent of a young boy or girl, then odds are you’ve already weathered a few terrible ear infections in your day. The odds simply aren’t in your favor — Ear, Nose and Throat doctors say at least 90% of kids will have an ear infection by their third birthday, and 30% will have three or more. You may have even gone on a Googling rampage after your son or daughter started to snore or develop sleep disordered breathing, only to discover everything was just fine.

But as your baby grows up and becomes an overactive toddler going on sullen teenager, sinus infections will quickly become the most common ENT problems in children and adolescents you’ll have to contend with. So how can you tell sinus infections, also called “sinusitis,” apart from a common cold? Here’s what you should watch out for:

  • A cold that lasts more than 10 to 14 days, sometimes accompanied by a low fever.
  • A thick yellow-green mucus or nasal drainage.
  • A post-nasal drip, sometimes leading to sore throat, cough, bad breath, and even nausea and vomiting.

So if your son or daughter has a cold, runny nose, or backed up sinuses that just won’t go away, it might be time for a trip to the doctor to see if they’ve come down with a case of sinusitis.

So that means it’s time for the doctor to write an antibiotics prescription, right?

Although most people hear the word “infection” and automatically think, “antibiotics,” doctors say that’s not always the right approach. In fact, the over prescription of antibiotics is causing serious health problems all over the world, including contributing to the phenomenon of antibiotic-resistant “super bugs,” or bacteria that are immune to common medicines. That’s why it’s important for parents not to try and play doctor themselves, and instead trust their doctor to recommend the best treatment for sinus infections.

More and more, doctors are deciding to wait to see if sinus infections show signs of clearing up on its own before prescribing a course of antibiotics. Of course, if the infection is severe or shows signs of getting worse, your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics.

Like common ear infections, sinusitis can be extremely painful (for children and parents), but isn’t usually life threatening. In severe cases, it can lead to breathing difficulties. Because sinus infections are some of the most common Ear Nose and Throat problems in children and adolescents, your local pediatric ENT doctor will know exactly what’s best for your loved one.

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