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October 06, 2009

NYT: Does Snotty Colored Discharge Require Antibiotics? No!!!


The New York Times published a story on Oct 6, 2009 entitled "The Claim: With a Runny Nose, Green Calls for an Antibiotic." It actually is a pretty good article though I'm not sure how much impact this will have in clinical practice.

The story reports that green discharge from the nose is NOT indicative of a bacterial sinus infection and as such, this symptom should not be the sole reason why antibiotics should be prescribed.

It does reference a research paper that backs this claim up. There are others.

In any case, the last sentence of the story is worth reiterating: "THE BOTTOM LINE: The color of nasal discharge should not dictate the medicine."

Not sure how accepting patients will be of this factoid given how ingrained colored discharge has been equated with sinus infection.

I personally have encouraged saline nasal flushes starting from as early as 5 years old as the main treatment for this issue which some patients have been more accepting than others.
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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