While viruses and colds usually run their course, bacterial infections, such as sinusitis and bronchitis, may require treatment with an antibiotic in order to get better. Appropriate use of antibiotics may also help people get better faster.
According to the survey, 69 percent of sinusitis and bronchitis sufferers said they felt better more quickly when they took antibiotics versus over-the-counter medicines, with 53 percent experiencing improvement one to two days more quickly with an antibiotic.
Sinusitis and bronchitis may be caused by viruses or bacteria, with indistinguishable symptoms regardless of the cause. Bacteria usually cause more severe symptoms that persist for a longer period of time, and often follow a viral illness. Survey respondents associated the following symptoms most frequently with sinusitis: nasal congestion (61 percent), headache (53 percent), facial pressure and pain (37 percent), and sore throat (22 percent). Just 21 percent reported discolored or thickened mucus as a symptom they associate with sinusitis.
"While 85 percent of survey respondents said they had been afflicted with a sinus infection in the past 12 months, this survey suggests people may not be as familiar with the primary symptoms of sinusitis. While the other symptoms in combination may signal sinusitis, yellow or discolored drainage is the most specific sign of a sinus infection," said Dr. Ferguson.
In bronchitis, bacteria attack the lining of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to the lungs, causing swelling and mucus. The symptoms respondents most frequently associated with bronchitis included coughing and coughing up phlegm with chest pain (60 percent) and shortness of breath (37 percent). Bronchitis may accompany or follow influenza.
The random survey of 606 sinusitis and bronchitis sufferers was conducted in September and October 2004. The study was supported by an unrestricted educational