Skip to content

Children's Health

Kids' Sinusitis Might Not Need Antibiotics

Doctors can 'watch and wait' for an additional 3 days
Font Size
A
A
A

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors don't have to automatically prescribe an antibiotic to treat children who appear to have acute sinus infections, according to new guidelines issued by a leading group of pediatricians.

Instead, they can take a "watch and wait" approach if it appears the infection might clear on its own, according to the new American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines.

"The practitioner can either treat immediately or consider waiting for a couple of days," said Dr. Ellen Wald, chairwoman of the academy's subcommittee on acute sinusitis. "If the kid doesn't look dramatically ill, you can wait an extra couple of days to see if they improve on their own."

The previous guidelines, passed in 2001, recommended antibiotic therapy for all children diagnosed with acute bacterial sinusitis, which is defined as persistent signs of sinus infection lasting more than 10 days.

Doctors now can observe kids for up to an additional three days past that 10-day period to see if their symptoms will ease without antibiotic treatment.

"There's nothing absolutely sacred about 10 days. It could be 11 days. It could be 12 days," said Wald, chairwoman of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, in Madison. "In the child who looks sicker, we wouldn't do that. We would start on antibiotics immediately."

The new guidelines, published online June 24 in the journal Pediatrics, are driven primarily by concern over antibiotic resistance, she said. There is a lot of overlap between the common cold and acute sinusitis, and some children who are not suffering from a bacterial infection may be receiving antibiotics.

"If we prescribe fewer antibiotics, then the problem of antibiotic resistance is controlled," Wald said. "If you can avoid the use of antibiotics, then that is reasonable."

Between 6 percent and 7 percent of children who visit doctors seeking care for a respiratory condition have acute sinusitis, according to the report.

Most cases of acute sinusitis develop from a common cold. Colds usually last five to seven days and peak within two or three days, Wald said.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
 
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.
 

worried kid
fitArticle
boy on father's shoulder
Article
 
Child with red rash on cheeks
Slideshow
girl thinking
Article
 

Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

babyapp
New
Child with adhd
Slideshow
 
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool