Dangerous Sinus Infections you Need to Know About

sinus-dropsThe past month I have diagnosed two patients with sinus infections due to Methicillin-resistent Staphylococcus Aureus. The medical lingo for these type of infections is MRSA (pronounced Mur-cer). In the past, physicians tended to only see MRSA in hospitalized patients because these bacteria were mainly carried by hospital personnel – doctors and nurses or other seriously ill patients.

Today, MRSA has become more prevalent in office settings due to the overuse of antibiotics. MRSA infections are important to detect because they are usually resistant to the first-line antibiotics used to treat sinus infections, such as Amoxicillin, Cephalosporin, Erythromycin, and Tetracycline. MRSA infections can be treated if the lab finds they are sensitive to Quinolones (ex. Levaquin) or Vancomycin.

My main concern is that patients with chronic sinus infections are using products to rinse their sinuses, such as bulb syringes or Neilmed products, and Royal Vegas and are not properly disinfecting them between uses. It is quite easy for these products to become contaminated if the proper procedures are not followed. The same thing probably goes for the Neti pot, which is quite popular with patients that suffer from chronic sinusitis.

I can attest that treating patients with chronic sinusitis is extremely difficult – as a physician you are always debating whether or not to use antibiotics. In many of the cases, the chronic inflammation is not due to bacteria and antibiotics are of no benefit; on the other hand, these recent cases make me suspect culturing the nose may be important.

My pearl of advice: Remember to disinfect any equipment you use repeatedly in your nose – it’s one of the main ways you can prevent infection.

Dr. Dean Mitchell
Mitchell Medical Group | NYC & Long Island

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