Sinus infections can be a huge pain—literally. Sinusitis can cause intense amounts of pressure near the affected sinus, pressure with translates to pain in the surrounding area. Sinusitis can often cause headaches, congestion, and post-nasal drip, symptoms people sometimes mistake for a cold. Not many people know why they suddenly develop a sinus infection, however. Here are the top underlying reasons most people experience sinusitis.
Reason #1: Dry Air
Many times sinuses become infected because they have dried out and their membranes have cracked. This fissure allows bacteria to get into the sinuses and cause problems. Dry air in places such as a desert, or indoors with a controlled climate, can contribute to the drying process. Air conditioners and heaters both contribute to drier, less-humid air, which causes the atmosphere to take moisture out of every other available place, including the skin.
Reason #2: Airborne Pollutants and Irritants
It’s almost impossible to completely avoid the enumerable particulates you encounter throughout the day. Pollen, dust, pet dander, dust mites, mold, fungus, and mildew are always floating around outside the home and inside, even with a particularly good HEPA filter. Likewise, fumes from building projects and strong chemicals with irritating scents (such as formaldehyde) could also cause problems with the sinuses. Electronics, computers, and lights can also create positively charged ions in the air, which contribute to the fatigue of the sinuses.
Reason #3: Viruses and Bacteria
You can’t get a sinus infection without some type of bacteria or virus. These tiny microscopic creatures can sneak in when your sinuses are made vulnerable through other environmental factors. Sinus infections are also contagious in some cases. Respiratory viruses that sometimes cause sinusitis are passed through hand-to-hand contact, meaning if you touch something or someone contaminated by the virus and then touch your own nose, eyes or mouth, you could develop a cold or acute sinusitis.
Reason #4: Poor Sleep Habits
Getting a good night’s sleep does more than make you feel refreshed; it keeps your immune system healthy. Poor sleep patterns and lack of sleep lowers the body’s immunity, so the body can’t repair small problems as quickly as it normally would. This leaves you vulnerable to all sorts of illnesses, including a sinus infection.
Reason #5: Stress
Emotional upheaval and stress can also lower the strength of your immune system and can increase inflammation throughout the body. Chronic stress, in particular, leaves your body vulnerable to viruses and bacterial infections. Part of the reason stress contributes to a weak immune system is it can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Reason #6: Allergies
Allergies often cause inflammation around the nasal passage. This inflammation can prevent the nose from draining, often leading to sinus infections. Studies have shown people with sinus infections who have allergies tend to have extensive sinusitis.
Reason #7: Polyps
A nasal polyp is a type of small, benign growth that forms in the nose or sinus tissues. Polyps can cause the sinus cavities to become blocked, preventing mucus from draining and causing a sinus infection. They can also restrict airway passages, which can lead to headaches.
Reason #8: Swimming
Those who are prone to sinusitis or congestion should avoid chlorinated pools. Chlorine is a potent chemical that can irritate your nasal lining and sinuses. Diving can also be a problem, as the pressure created during a dive can push water into your sinuses, inflaming and irritating the tissue.
Reason #9: Fungi
Fungi aren’t common causes of sinus infections. They mostly occur in people who have already weakened immune systems. Those who have weak immune systems are vulnerable to fungal growth. Fungi tend to grow in damp and dark environments, such as the sinuses. The most common type to cause sinusitis is Aspergillus.
Reason #10: Overuse of Nasal Products
Nasal decongestants, while they might relieve congestion, also constrict blood vessels in the nose. Prolonged use of nasal sprays can lead to dependency and reduce the medicine’s effectiveness, which causes the nose to become swollen again. These sprays can make sinusitis symptoms worse if not used as directed by a pharmacist.
If you’re having problems with chronic sinusitis, don’t hesitate to call us. Our skilled Plantation sinus and allergy specialists can offer you a list of options that can help you find the relief you’ve been looking for. Let us help you find an effective solution to your sinus problems. South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center, Inc. is proud to offer a state-of-the-art facility, which provides a broad range of specialized treatments to suit your individual and unique case. Dr. Lee M. Mandel, our experienced Otolaryngologist-Head and Neck Surgeon can help you find an effective solution to your chronic sinus issues, including conducting tests to discern exactly what is causing your problem and how to fix it.
Contact us at (954) 883-9449 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment with our skilled physician today. We look forward to speaking with you and helping you reach your health goals.