Sinuses are air-filled cavities located within the cheekbones, around the eyes, and behind the nose.
An inflammation of the sinuses is called sinusitis and can be caused by infection, injury, or allergy. It can be classified as acute (which usually lasts for seven to 10 days) or chronic (which lasts for eight weeks or longer).
A dry climate can dry out the membranes in your nose, causing mucus that’s located in the membranes to dry and get thicker. It’s then more likely to clog your sinuses, resulting in pain and pressure.
In this blog, I will address the question of climate and sinus infections and whether your symptoms can be worse in particular kinds of weather.
What are the symptoms of sinusitis?
Sinusitis causes nasal tissues to swell and interfere with the normal draining of mucus. As more mucus continues to be produced, it builds up in the sinuses, which can lead to very uncomfortable symptoms such as:
- Facial pain
- Tenderness and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose, and forehead
- Sinus pressure or congestion
- Difficulty breathing through the nose
- Reduced ability to smell or taste
- Sinus headache (usually characterized by a deep throbbing pain in the front of your head and face)
- Yellow, green, or yellowish/green mucus draining from your nose
- Teeth pain
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
Does the climate affect sinusitis?
Climate and sinus infections are definitely linked. Sinuses need a constant flow of mucus to stay healthy. They may respond to dry conditions by producing too much mucus, leading to post nasal drip syndrome (when mucus runs down the back of your nose and into your throat).
A crisp, cool day with a slight breeze and no dust, molds, pollens, or pollutants is the ideal weather if you suffer from sinusitis. Highly humid days with atmospheric inversions are terrible, because these atmospheric layers can cause pollutants and smog to become trapped and build up.
On the other hand, climate and sinus infections are also linked on dry, dusty days, which can also cause problems. Barometric shifts often cause your nasal tissues to swell. Spongy areas within your nose expand to equalize in pressure with the outside, and your sinus drainage ducts become blocked as a result.
Cold weather and rapid air pressure changes can also increase your risk for sinusitis.
What are the treatment options for sinusitis?
If the climate and sinus infections are causing troublesome symptoms, there are a variety of treatment options you can try.
Treatment options for sinusitis include:
Antibiotics: This is the standard treatment option for sinusitis that’s caused by bacteria. Bacterial sinusitis can develop from a viral sinus infection and is characterized by thick green or yellow mucus.
Nasal Decongestant Sprays: These can be helpful in the very short term – no more than three or four days. They shrink swollen nasal passages, making it easier for mucus to properly drain from the sinuses. If they’re used for longer periods, they can create a rebound effect that causes your symptoms to worsen.
Antihistamines: Antihistamines block inflammation caused by an allergic reaction, so they can improve sinusitis symptoms that are worsened by allergen exposure.
Topical Nasal Corticosteroids: These prescription nasal sprays help reduce inflammation and swelling.
Nasal Saline Washes: Nasal rinses can help clear thickened secretions from nasal passages.
Balloon Sinuplasty: Balloon Sinuplasty is a minimally invasive in office procedure that opens sinus passages to relieve sinus pain and sinus pressure associated with chronic sinusitis.
Surgery: Medications are the first type of treatment used for sinusitis, but if they’re not effective or cause troubling side effects, sinus surgery may be necessary.
Where can I find treatment for my sinusitis?
We offer premier medical care to those living in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. Our physician can diagnose the cause of your sinusitis, which will then enable us to tailor effective treatment options designed for your needs.
We offer the latest minimally invasive treatments for the nose and sinuses.
Contact our office 314-447-4995 to schedule your appointment today.