The Sinus Cocktail Shot

This time of year, calls to AFC/Doctors Express increase exponentially from patients wanting a sinus cocktail shot for their colds.

First, it’s true that the sinus cocktail is a shot that may help you feel better sooner than the 7 to 10 days it takes for a cold to cycle through your body … or it may not, depending on the patient.

And it’s true that many doctors won’t give them at all.

At AFC/Doctors Express, we have some doctors that will give them and some that won’t. And those that will, do so only after a thorough exam and consultation with the patient, and even then the doctor may decide based on the patient’s medical history and diagnosis at the time of the exam, that a sinus cocktail shot is not what’s best for the patient.

A common myth is that they are similar to flu shots but the sinus cocktail shot is NOT like a flu shot. You don’t get one like you get a flu shot.

Here’s why.

You get a flu shot to help stave off the flu or reduce the chances that you will get a bad case of it. It is preventive shot, like a vaccination of sorts.

flu-shot-needleThe sinus cocktail shot is used for after you contract a common cold or if that cold has developed into sinusitis.

In a relatively healthy person, the body’s immune system can fend off a common cold virus usually within 7 to 10 days. And since acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin-type products help with the yucky, achy feeling caused by a common cold and antihistamines usually help with a runny nose, most people don’t need a sinus cocktail shot.

Sinusitis is a condition that often starts as a cold, which then turns into a bacterial infection.

If you have a cold, and you do get the green light for a sinus cocktail shot, it will usually consist of an antihistamine (such as Benadryl, which is diphenhydramine) and at least one steroid (usually dexamethasone). For sinusitis patients, doctors add an antibiotic to the sinus cocktail shot, such as amoxicillin.

The antibiotic will do nothing for the cold, even though patients demand it, which is why many doctors won’t give the shot at all. And, the antihistamine and steroid may have a short-term benefit of shrinking the mucus in your nose that causes the congestion, but its effect is only temporary relief, not a cure, yet another reason some doctors won’t give the shot.

If you have sinusitis and are a candidate for the shot, you’ll get the one with the antibiotic added because you have a bacterial infection and our doctors are most likely going to send you on to a specialist for additional treatment of your sinusitis.

Remember, common colds are transmitted by hand-to-hand contact, so wash your hands frequently. And if you want a sinus cocktail shot, call before coming to AFC/Doctors Express in Memphis to see if the doctors on staff that day will administer a sinus cocktail shot and even then, it will be at the doctor’s discretion to give you one after your exam and diagnosis.

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