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Low fever, chest congestion, fatigue and hives. Can I take antibiotics unsure of sinus infection?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
I have been sick for 5 days with a low grade fever, chest congestion (though I am not able to produce much mucus when coughing, even though I definitely feel it in there), and significant fatigue. The past 3 days, I have broken out in hives from my knees to my feet (bilaterally), with each day worse than the previous day. I have never gotten hives before when sick, and I have no allergies of any kind. These hives have come at the same time each day and disappear after 2- 2.5 hours.

I went to an urgent care center yesterday, and the doctor prescribed an antibiotic (Augmentin) because she said I probably also had a sinus infection as well. I have some pressure in my face/head, but not a painful amount.

My question is: Is it common for a person who doesn't normally get hives to experience them all of a sudden when sick, and should I be treating them in some way? Also, Is it wise to take the antibiotic when I am not sure at all that I have a sinus infection, as I know it will not help with a viral infection.

I am a 43 year old female, in good health, exercise regularly, am in normal range for my weight, and do not take any medications.
Posted Sat, 21 Apr 2012 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 5 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
Answer 1.Yes it is possible for person of any age to suffer from hives suddenly without prior experience.It can most commonly occur in viral infections though allergy, and drug reaction to common drugs like Nsaids and antibiotics can also occur.
The treatment would be the same for majority of cases that is using an oral anti histaminics as per your doctors prescription.When severe hospitalisation and injections might be required.
Also if allergy known then prevention by avoiding the allergen is recommended.
Answer 2.
Antibiotics can be prescribed in viral infections if doctor feels there are chances of bacterial superinfection, to prevent complications . Also note that sinus infection need not always cause sinus tenderness, fullness might be the only sign felt in early stages.
So antibiotics might be a right choice in your case but the decision would be on you whether or not to take it since at present its not mandatory.
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