Q: I get frequent sinus infections. How can I prevent them? And how bad are antibiotics really? Also, are there any alternatives to antibiotics?
A: This is a great question, and one that many people are asking this time of year. Antibiotics are vastly over-prescribed for the management of sinusitis. Studies have shown that the use of antibiotics does not significantly reduce the severity or the duration of symptoms.
For several years, I have had patients with chronic sinus infections and allergies tell me that the use of a neti pot has been “life changing” (yes, those were the exact words). Now there are studies to support that nasal irrigation, either using a neti pot or other instruments, can improve symptoms.
I recommend that anyone with seasonal allergies or chronic sinus infections use a nasal irrigation on a daily basis.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.