To kick off cold and flu season, a new British study found that a placebo works just as well as antibiotics (amoxicillin) in treating sinus infections. That conclusion, at least in my book, is not a happy ending. It seems no matter what treatment the 240 study participants tried – antibiotics, steroid nasal spray, or placebo – their sinus infections cleared up after about two weeks. Antibiotics work on bacterial infections, but the long held belief that green and yellow mucus (gross I know, but a telling symptom of a sinus infection) is not indicative of a bacterial infection, as was once widely believed.
The study concludes that doctors should aim to treat the symptoms, using over the counter pain medication, like ibuprofen, for the throbbing pain (I don't exaggerate – the inflamed sinus can really cause some serious pain) and warm water rinses, like using the good old fashioned neti pot.