Ryan is an experienced health writer helping educate and inform people on all types of important health topics. He lives in Salt Lake City, UT and can be found recreating in the local mountains.
Dr. Aaron Wiegmann
Dr. Wiegmann earned his medical degree (M.D.) from Rush Medical College and completed his General Surgery residency at Rush University Medical Center and Cook County Hospital. He has a Master's Degree (M.S.) in clinical research and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles.
March 8, 2021
It depends. Using a Z-pack for sinus infection is effective, but only for bacterial infections. Using a Z-pack for sinus infection caused by a virus won’t help.
“Viruses cause most sinus infections, but bacteria can cause some sinus infections” according to the CDC.
The signature symptom of sinus infection is the headache that it causes, which lingers in the face around the eyes, nose, ears, cheeks, teeth, and forehead. However, these symptoms aren’t different between bacterial and viral infections.
You know that it may be a sinus infection if you feel the pressure in your face worsen when you lean forward toward the ground, but you will need help from a doctor to determine whether aZ-pack for sinus infection will be effective or not.
Let’s go over the types of sinus infections and their symptoms. This article will help you understand when you can use a Z-pack for sinus infection and when you can’t, and which antibiotics are the best for treating a sinus infection.
A Z-pack is a package of antibiotics (either azithromycin or Zithromax). It is usually taken for five to seven days. Talk to a medical professional before using a Z-pack, as they contain potent antibiotics and shouldn’t be used unless necessary.
A bacterial sinus infection occurs in a patient when a new or already existing bacterial colony takes root in the sinus passageways and causes inflammation (the sinuses are passageways that wrap around the eyes, ears, nose, cheeks, and forehead).
Having a bacterial sinus infection is the only time you can get a Z-pack for sinus infection.
When these passageways become inflamed, your nose will become “clogged” and you may feel mild to severe pressure in your face. This pressure can cause your eyes to well up with tears at random, sinus congestion from dried mucus buildup, a headache, and post-nasal drip. If you have a sinus infection, you may develop a sore throat, and your nose and mouth may secrete a thick, discolored discharge of mucus.
Bacterial sinus infections often happen in the Spring, when pollen particles fly freely in the air we breathe. When we inhale an excessive amount of pollen particles, an inflammatory reaction can be triggered in the sinus, which causes sinus inflammation (or “sinusitis”).
This sinus inflammation can predispose people to bacterial sinus infections. In fact, anything that causes a mechanical obstruction of the nose or sinuses can predispose someone to bacterial sinus infections including: viral sinus infections, allergies, foreign body in the nose, dental infection, or anatomic issues with sinus drainage.
Additionally, inhaling too much pet dander can cause a sinus infection, especially if you’re allergic to it. If you are in frequent contact with furry animals, it’s possible to develop sinusitis from inhaling too many pet dander particles even if you’re not allergic to them.
Also, consider the air quality of your home and work environment. Poor air quality with too many particulates can lead to a sinus infection. If you work at or frequently visit salons or spas, you may be inhaling some of the chemical traces or skin and hair particles that float in the air; if the facility doesn’t have proper ventilation.
The main factor to consider when it comes to bacterial sinus infections is the air quality you breathe. If you breathe polluted air regularly, the chances of developing a sinus infection are significantly higher. If you find yourself chronically suffering from a sinus infection, investigate the air quality of your home and workplace.
If you think your sinus infection is bacterial it’s time to talk to a doctor about a Z-pack for sinus infection.
Viral sinus infections bear the same symptoms as bacterial sinus infections:
If your sinus infection is viral a Z-pack for sinus infection is not a treatment option.
The cause of viral sinus inflammation is different, though. You contract a viral sinus infection from contact with a given virus, such as the common cold. A viral sinus infection progresses differently than its bacterial counterpart and requires different treatment.
A bacterial sinus infection will cause you to feel sinus symptoms first, followed by the possibility of fever, muscle cramps, and chills. When you get a viral sinus infection, you will feel the virus’s symptoms first (cough, fever, chills, fatigue, etc.), then start to feel the sinusitis symptoms gradually increase in severity (facial pressure, post-nasal drip, etc.).
The best way to avoid viral sinus infections is to boost your immune system with vitamin C, exercise, and a balanced diet. Prevention is the best treatment for a viral sinus infection as you can not use a Z-pack (or any other antibiotic) for sinus infection if it is viral.
Z-packs are highly effective at treating many bacterial infections, including bacterial sinus infections. Unfortunately, Z-packs are only effective against bacterial sinus infections, not viral sinus infections. Only a small minority of sinus infection cases need a Z-pack for treatment since most sinus infections are viral, not bacterial.
Only use a Z-pack for sinus infection when faced with a severe or chronic sinus infection that persists through other treatment measures. If you misuse a Z-pack on a sinus infection, you may encourage the bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics, contributing to the ever-growing problem of antibiotic ineffectiveness.
Talk to a medical professional before using a Z-pack for sinus infection, as they contain potent antibiotics and shouldn’t be used unless necessary.
EverydayDr is proud to be partnered with PlushCare, a top telehealth company. PlushCare’s online doctors can prescribe Z-packs for bacterial sinus infections and can recommend symptom management options for those with viral sinusitis.
Usually, patients take a Z-pack for sinus infection for five to seven days to treat bacterial infections in the body. Depending on how severe your sinus infection is, the Z-pack could take as little as one day or as long as a week to begin resolving your sinus infection.
The best antibiotics for sinus infection relief are:
These antibiotics effectively kill most bacteria strains and will have no problem treating your bacterial sinus infection. It’s important to note that only bacterial sinus infections should have antibiotics used against them.
Not sure how to tell the difference between bacterial and viral sinus infection? Need a prescription for antibiotics? EverydayDr partners with award-winning telehealth provider, PlushCare, to provide top-tier medical assistance. You can book same-day appointments to see a doctor remotely, get diagnosed, and get prescriptions filled.
To book an appointment, go to the PlushCare booking flow here. Consult with a doctor in-person or via telemedicine today to a Z-pack for sinus infection.
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