Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Take Antibiotics for a Sinus Infection
The public-health campaigns to curb antibiotic use are not working especially well, as I discovered last month during a nasty bout with sinusitis. As someone with asthma, allergies, and a deviated septum (all known risk factors) I get sinus infections a lot, so while I waited around for my condition to improve, I read up on the latest treatment research. All of it said in no uncertain terms that antibiotics do not help, and practically screamed: “Don’t take them!”
After being sick for several days, I finally ventured out to see a doctor, even though I suspected there was nothing he could do. That was probably a mistake, as seeing a doctor for a generic upper respiratory ailment like a sinus infection or bronchitis almost guarantees that you’ll end up violating the CDC’s advice.
Despite all the exhortations about antibiotic overuse, the ear, nose, and throat specialist I saw not only wanted to give me an antibiotic, he pressed me to take a powerful, broad-spectrum one called Levaquin, one of the few drugs effective against certain really deadly bacteria—like anthrax. For obvious reasons, the CDC strenuously warns against using this kind of drug indiscriminately.
Not only is Levaquin major overkill for a sinus infection, it has potential side-effects (psychosis, seizures, and liver and nerve damage, to name a few) that are far more horrible and serious than green snot. What’s more, the overuse of Levaquin is suspected as a culprit in the rise of the drug-resistant staph infection known as MRSA. It is quickly becoming impotent against things that people really need it for, like hospital-acquired pneumonia.