Sinusitis In The Summer of COVID-19

Summer is around the corner, but do you have headaches, pressure around the eyes, and nasal congestion usually seen during the cooler months of cold and flu season? Some patients with chronic sinusitis may not see an improvement in their symptoms in warmer weather and may still continue to experience discomfort with their symptoms.

What is Sinusitis?

The sinuses are hollow pockets formed by the facial bones. These pockets are lined with tissues that produce mucus that humidifies inhaled air while also trapping harmful or irritating particles found in the air. With sinusitis, this lining swells and produces excess and sometimes infected mucus. As a result, the swollen lining blocks the normal sinus drainage pathway, preventing air from entering the sinus for humidification as well as the excessive mucus from appropriately draining out of the sinus. As a result this excess mucus builds up over time and causes the characteristic sensation of heaviness or pressure in the face.

How Summer Weather Affects the Sinuses

In moderation, heat and humidity are great for the sinuses. However, on particularly hot or humid days, the mucus produced from the sinuses becomes more viscous and does not easily drain from the sinuses, causing nasal congestion. Some patients with severe chronic sinusitis may not feel the benefits of warm air and humidity at all.

Air Conditioning and the Sinuses

The cool air from air conditioning, while thoroughly enjoyed on a warm day, works oppositely from the heat and humidity. The dry, cool air can actually dry out the mucus produced by your sinuses, and can cause difficulty breathing through the nose. For this reason, remember to keep hydrated, even in a cool, air-conditioned room.

How does life during COVID-19 affect my sinuses?

We recommend following the appropriate use of masks and practicing social distancing as outlined by the CDC. However, the heat and humidity created by prolonged use of the masks can cause discomfort in patients with chronic sinusitis. Moreover, as the state reopens and Californians spend more time outside, they naturally will have an increased likelihood of exposure to environmental allergens, which are linked to sinusitis.

What can I do for my sinuses this summer?

  • Be aware of your current environment, is it too hot? Too dry?
  • Avoid any known allergy triggers as best you can. Schedule an appointment for allergy testing if you are unsure of what may be triggering your allergies.
  • Rinse your nose and thoroughly wash your hands after coming in from outside to remove the presence of any allergens. If you have severe allergies, consider taking a shower or changing your clothes regularly.
  • Limit time outside if use of a mask worsens sinus symptoms.
  • Stay hydrated! Even and especially in air-conditioned rooms.
  • Utilize any allergy or sinus medication as prescribed by your provider.

Schedule a Consultation

If medication and home remedies for summer sinus issues do not provide you with enough relief from your sinus symptoms, call the office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bublik to discuss your options, including minimally-invasive in-office procedures such as balloon sinuplasty, a fast and painless procedure that opens up your sinuses, improves your breathing, and reduces sinus pressure.

If you are a new or current patient and would like to schedule a consultation, please fill out our secure online request here. We'll contact you to schedule your consult. You can also call our office during normal business hours (9:00-5:00pm). We will be able to answer your questions and schedule appointments for you.

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