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Nasal Irrigation As Effective As Amoxicillin for Children with Sinusitis


Nasal Irrigation As Effective As Amoxicillin for Children with Sinusitis

Journal of Pediatrics Study states, “Acute sinusitis is common and usually treated with antibiotics in spite of the lack of evidence for the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy and the increasing number of resistant strains. “

A clinical study published in the Journal of Pediatrics set out to study, “A comparison of the efficacy of amoxicillin and nasal irrigation in treatment of acute sinusitis in children.”

Considering the very high rate of antibiotic prescriptions as the first line of defense for sinus ailments among children, medical researchers are interested in identifying alternative, safer methods that are as, or more, effective.

Sinusitis is a common condition in children. Children have an average six to eight colds per year with 0.5%-­5% developing acute sinus infection. Sinusitis is a leading reason for outpatient antibiotic use. In the United States (US), sinusitis affects about 1% of children each year and accounts for more than 1.8 billion US dollar in direct health care expenditures and 20 million prescriptions for antibiotics per year.

“The efficacy of antibiotic therapy for acute sinusitis is controversial. This study aimed to compare the efficacies of amoxicillin with nasal irrigation and nasal irrigation alone for acute sinusitis in children.”

The results show that use of antibiotic therapy combined with nasal irrigation is more effective in treating sinusitis than antibiotics alone; additionally, while the combination of antibiotics and nasal irrigation show faster improvement in the first three days of treatment over nasal irrigation alone, overall “there was no significant difference in the degree of improvement between the amoxicillin with nasal irrigation and nasal irrigation alone groups.”

The study suggests the use of antibiotics is not always warranted considering the end result is the same compared with nasal rinsing: “Antibiotic treatment for acute sinusitis confers only a small therapeutic benefit over nasal irrigation.”

The study concludes:

Nasal irrigation is a simple and inexpensive treatment that relieves the symptoms of sinusitis, reduces use of medical resources, and could help minimize antibiotic resistance.


Nasal irrigation is an inexpensive, patient­-controlled therapy that flushes the nasal cavity with saline solution, facilitating washing of the structures within. Benefits from nasal irrigation may be related to removal of nasal discharge and crusts, mucus thinning and clearance of nasal secretions. Nasal irrigation also may decrease inflammation. This procedure has been used safely for both adults and children, and has no documented serious adverse effects. Patients treated with nasal irrigation rely less on other medications and make fewer visits to physicians. Treatment guidelines in both Canada and the US now recommend use of nasal irrigation for all causes of rhinosinusitis and for post-operative cleaning of the nasal cavity.

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