Most upper respiratory infections that you see in the office are viral; treating them with antibiotics is, of course, pointless. Sinusitis is a different kettle of fish, however: It causes more discomfort than a run-of-the-mill cold, lasts longer, is often bacterial, and is properly treated with antibiotics.
So that is the quandary: Is antibiotic treatment for a patient whose symptoms might be sinusitis a reasonable choice or just an injudicious use of antibiotics? An updated sinusitis practice parameter from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) offers some guidance:
The full text of the practice parameter is in the December 2005 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (also at http://www.jacionline.org/).