Good To Nose Baraka Blog

Are Antibiotics Right for You?

Written By: Sue
October 10, 2011

Sinus Infections and Antibiotics

The word antibiotic literally means “against life.” Anti meaning against and bios meaning life. As you may already know, antibiotics are antibacterial yet they are often prescribed for sinus infections which tend to be viral. Even in cases where the infection is bacterial, a 2007 study in the JAMA revealed that antibiotics were no more effective than a placebo.

Still, doctors are prescribing antibiotics and patients are asking for them. 90% of all adults who are seen by a general practitioner for acute sinusitis walk away with antibiotics. This is a cycle that doesn’t seem to be shifting.

Antibiotics are divided into two spectrums: narrow and broad. Narrow spectrum antibiotics are ones that include penicillin and work against a limited range of bacterium. Broad spectrum antibiotics like Cephalosporins work against a wide range. As you can guess, the broad spectrum antibiotics are super strong, so be prepared. All antibiotics change the balance of microbes in your body, but the broad spectrum ones, as suggested by their name, reduce more. That’s why so many people have intestinal issues during and after their antibiotic use. Ask your doctor which type of antibiotic he is prescribing and why he suspects your issue is a bacterial one. If he’s prescribing a broad spectrum antibiotic, ask if penicillin wouldn’t work the same.

Know the side effects of antibiotics (The stronger the antibiotic, the more intense these side effects can be):

  1. Diarrhea, as mentioned above, antibiotics affect all the microbes in our bodies. We have “good” bacteria in our intestines and antibiotics don’t just target the “bad” bacteria of our sinus infection. The “good” bacteria get reduced as well.
  2. Vaginal yeast infections are common in women and are another result of changing the microbe balance in our bodies.
  3. Feeling of being sick beyond your cold.

Before you decide whether you want to take an antibiotic, know the facts and be prepared to ask your doctor questions. Many doctors cringe when their patients come in with a list of questions formulated from their internet research or the conversations they’ve had with a friend, but I must remind you of the age old adage: knowledge is power. Especially when it comes to your health and most especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals. (If you want to read a great article on how vulnerable you are when taking pharmaceutical medications, read this one from the Atlantic Monthly: Your doctor couldn’t possibly be updated on the 1000s of medications out there, or the latest research and warnings about them! You can never ask too many questions. If your doctor becomes annoyed, it may be time to find a new one. Remember this medication is going into your body and no one knows your body better than you!

My advice is not to rush into using antibiotics as you may have done in the past. I realize it is important to get back to work or school but our bodies get sick because our immune systems are weakened -maybe it’s time for you to kick back and rest when you’re sick. Sickness is a natural way for our bodies to cleanse. When we don’t rest and allow our bodies to fully express our symptoms, we stifle this process. Too many people push through an illness and wonder why they never get better. Unless you’ve been dealing with a sinus infection for a long time, my suggestion is to wait it out. Also check out this link from Bastyr University on a study done using essential oils to combat sinus infections

sinus rinse


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