Most people experience sinus problems from time to time. However, unlike acute issues that go away, chronic problems become an ongoing issue. One good example is chronic sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis occurs when the sinus cavities in your head become swollen, inflamed, or infected, making it difficult for mucus to drain. Unlike acute sinusitis, which often appears with a cold and disappears when the infection clears up, chronic sinusitis lingers for at least three months.
You’re also more likely to struggle with chronic sinusitis if you have allergies or asthma. These conditions may not seem related, but they cause airway inflammation and irritation, responses that cause the sinuses to swell.
Signs of chronic sinusitis can include:
- Thick, discolored nasal discharge
- Mucus draining down the back of the throat
- Nasal congestion
- Tenderness, swelling, and pain near the forehead, nose, cheeks, and eyes
- Decreased smell and taste
- Ear pain or aching teeth
- Headache, cough, or sore throat
And if you feel like your symptoms worsen when the winter winds blow, you’re not imagining things.
The Advanced Allergy & Asthma team in Ogden, Utah, specializes in diagnosing and treating chronic health issues like sinusitis, allergies, and asthma. Do you struggle with your sinuses during the colder seasons? Here’s what you should know.
The problem with sinusitis
The sinuses help air move from your nose to your lungs. They are hollow, interconnected spaces behind the nose, cheekbones, and forehead, lined with delicate tissue. They also make mucus, which moisturizes the nose and traps debris you inhale, like viruses, bacteria, and allergens.
When sinusitis occurs, these tissues begin to swell, which can trap mucus and prevent drainage. In many cases, this response develops because of a bacterial or viral infection, which can also cause chronic sinusitis symptoms to worsen.
Other causes of chronic sinusitis include:
- Tooth infections
- A weakened immune system, which leaves you more vulnerable to infections
- Other airway conditions, like cystic fibrosis, allergies, or asthma
- Issues inside the nose, like polyps, deviated septums, or tumors
Once sinusitis becomes a chronic problem, it’s crucial to find ways to control or ease the sinus inflammation triggering your symptoms.
Tackling sinus irritation at the source
Since chronic sinusitis can have numerous causes, it’s essential to work with an expert to identify the source of your issues, especially if you suspect allergies or asthma could play a role in your symptoms.
Once we reach a diagnosis, we can offer personalized recommendations on how to reduce your flare-ups. For instance, if you have allergies or asthma, we can create treatment strategies to manage your condition, which decreases airway irritation and sinus swelling.
But that’s not your only action, especially when the weather turns colder.
Winter temps often have a big problem for your sinuses and airways — cold, dry air. It can be hard enough to manage under the best circumstances, but it can wreak havoc on tissue that already has a higher chance of inflammation, irritation, and swelling.
As a result, our team recommends adding these steps to your management strategy during colder seasons:
- Use a humidifier
- Rinse nasal passages regularly with saline solution
- Limit your exposure to allergens as much as possible
- Avoid cigarette smoke and other environmental pollutants
It would help to wash your hands frequently with soap and water to reduce your risk of infections during cold and flu season.
However, this is only the beginning. If you have chronic sinusitis, we can offer additional management strategies based on your unique situation.
Do you have chronic sinusitis? Contact Advanced Allergy & Asthma for extra help this season from our experts in Ogden, Utah.