Diagnosing and Treating a Sinus Infection Online
Sinus infections are one of the most commonly treated conditions by Amwell physicians. Sinus infections are often mistaken for the common cold, but they are different conditions. While the two conditions are similar, the most likely symptoms for a sinus infection might include:
- Thick, yellow, foul-smelling discharge from your nose
- Pressure or pain around the eyes or cheeks
- Cold like symptoms that won't go away or get worse
Many people think antibiotics are the number one treatment for sinus infections, but this is usually not the case. According to guidelines released by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, 90 to 98 percent of sinus infections aren't caused by bacteria, meaning antibiotics will not work. Antibiotics are typically used to treat infections or diseases caused by bacteria. If your case of sinusitis is viral, antibiotics will be ineffective. In fact, antibiotics can be harmful to you if used inappropriately. Doctors can help determine if you have sinusitis, the type of sinusitis, if treatment is needed, or if a referral to a specialist is required.
During a video consult on Amwell your doctor will ask you a series of targeted questions to determine if your symptoms point to a sinus infection. Then your provider will proceed to determine the best treatment plan for you. Your provider may recommend in-person examination by a specialist if this is needed. Your treatment plan is based on the duration and severity of your symptoms and your medical history.Be prepared to discuss any past treatments you have had for sinusitis. Along with these questions, the doctor may ask you to take your temperature, shine a light on your sinuses, touch your neck and cheeks and report what you feel.
Once a diagnosis has been made, your doctor will go over the risks and benefits of the various treatment plans. Depending on the cause and severity of the infection, your treatment plan may include:
- Home treatment options to help promote nasal drainage and ease symptoms i.e. salt water rinses
- A recommendation of over the counter (OTC) medications including:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories i.e. Ibuprofen
- Nasal sterioids i.e. Nasacort
- Oral or nasal antihistamine
- If it is bacterial, antibiotics could be prescribed
- A referral to a specialist
Note: To assess the severity of your infection the doctor may ask for your temperature, if possible it would be best to take your temperature before starting the call.