The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is warning against blanket use of antibiotics to treat sinus infections.
Healthcare professionals should tell patients that most sinus infections will clear-up without antibiotic treatment, and that there is little to no evidence oral decongestants will help to relieve their symptoms, it stressed.
Final guidance developed with Public Health England advises that people with sinusitis should rest, and manage their aches and pains with paracetamol.
Most cases of acute sinusitis are caused by a viral infection, but data shows that antibiotics are given to 91 percent of people who visit their GP with symptoms of the condition.
“Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest dangers to our health, which is why we must all work together to fight it,” said Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE.
“Our new guidance will help healthcare professionals to use antibiotics efficiently and only when they are really needed. This will help to protect these vital medicines and ensure that no one experiences side-effects from a treatment they do not need.”
The new guidelines follow the launch of Public Health England’s new campaign to further rein in inappropriate use of antibiotics, as estimates show that around 5,000 people in England alone die every year because of antimicrobial resistance.