Can Air Conditioning Cause Sinus Congestion?

It’s hard to imagine surviving warmer weather without the cooling power of air conditioning. However, turning on the AC to beat the heat can trigger sinus issues or exacerbate existing problems.

At Advanced Allergy & Asthma in Ogden, Utah, our team specializes in acute and chronic allergies, asthma, and other related conditions. If you’ve noticed sinus congestion that appears or worsens when you enter a cool, dry room, it could be the air conditioner.

How cold air affects your nose

Most people assume that sinus issues are due to colds or allergies, but that may not be the case. Your nose has incredibly sensitive nerve endings. When activated, they cause blood vessels to swell and increase activity in mucous membranes, which leads to congestion or a runny nose.

Aside from allergies, common sinus triggers include: 

This nasal sensitivity is why you may notice your nose running or growing stuffy when walking outside on a cold day or stepping into a cool, air-conditioned room. However, these reactions should be temporary. If you notice that your sinus congestion continues, you could also be suffering from allergies.

Why allergies make things worse

You can experience even more sinus congestion in air-conditioned spaces when you have allergies, especially to irritants like dust mites, pollen, mold, or hayfever. That’s because the small particles causing allergic reactions can get trapped in AC filters, and then released back into the air every time the air conditioning runs. 

Fortunately, you can still enjoy a cool air-conditioned environment free from sinus congestion. First, we recommend undergoing allergy testing to identify any sensitivities that could be worsening your symptoms. After reaching a diagnosis, we can help create a personalized strategy to help manage either acute or chronic allergy symptoms. Not only can our treatments help manage existing conditions, but they can also prevent new ones from developing.

Next, whether you have allergies or not, be sure to change your air conditioning filter regularly based on the manufacturer’s guidelines. These recommendations can vary significantly based on the type of air-conditioner you have, the filter it uses, and the number of irritants in the air. Remember, when you don’t maintain your AC filters, you add more allergens to the air you breathe.

Finally, if you have sinus issues caused by cool, dry air alone, we recommend drinking plenty of fluids to stay properly hydrated and using a humidifier to increase the moisture in your environment.

For more tips on managing chronic sinus issues or allergies, contact us to schedule a consultation at one of our convenient Ogden locations.

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