The average child catches between six and 10 colds a year. Pain in your nasal passages, discolored discharge, congestion, decreased sense of smell, headaches; what do they all have in common? These are the symptoms of sinusitis.
Everybody has had one, and chances are you will probably have one this year if you don’t already. Having a stuffed nose is miserable in many ways, but you should know that you don’t necessarily have to endure regular or lasting sinus infections. By knowing what causes sinusitis, you can take action against the culprits. It’s often the case that the source of your sinus issues can be found at home.
The most likely cause of your sinusitis is a respiratory infection. This can cause sinus membrane swelling, which blocks drainage passages for mucus. Couple this with inflammation of the sinuses from repetitive nose blowing and you have a recipe for a bad case of the sniffles. While you can’t make your home 100% safe from viruses and germs, you can protect yourself by keeping your home clean and sanitary at all times. Just like you would wash your hands more often during flu season, be sure to wipe down your home more often as well. Viruses are often transmitted through the air, but they can also be transmitted on surfaces such as tabletops, door handles, faucets, and remotes. Although the common cold, a viral infection, is the most likely explanation for sinus infections, you could have gotten sinusitis elsewhere. If you have any mold in your home, that could trigger recurring or even chronic sinusitis.
- Cigarette Smoke
Cigarettes are bad news, and even though sinusitis is probably the least of your worries if you smoke, it can be incredibly frustrating. This is especially true if you’re trying to quit, as the congestion you’re coping with stresses you out, making you want to smoke more. There’s not much you can do about sinusitis if you smoke cigarettes, but you can ensure that your home is a smoke-free environment. Even second-hand smoke can cause serious health problems. Ask guests and neighbors to smoke away from doors, windows, and common areas.
If you leave your windows open in the spring to catch a warm breeze and a whiff of flowers, you could be letting in any number of pollens, allergens, or air contaminants. If you know that you are allergic to pollen and you feel your nasal passages closing, keep the windows closed until you can get an antihistamine. However, there are plenty of other common allergens lurking inside your home. When dust mites, mold, and even cockroaches make themselves at home, they can make allergy-prone residents more susceptible to sinus infections.
These are common environmental factors contributing to sinus infections you can find inside your home, but many others exist. Left untreated, sinusitis sometimes becomes a chronic issue that’s resistant to cold medicines, antibiotics, and antihistamines.
At one point this would have required an invasive surgery to remove parts of your sinus cavities, but now there’s a better option involving a balloon. Balloon sinuplasty involves the insertion of a very small medical balloon into your congested sinuses and slowly inflating it to gently open up the passages. It sounds a bit odd, but 95% of patients say it relieved their symptoms. Of course, keeping your home clean and smoke-free is a much simpler option.
So if you want to breathe easy and avoid getting sick, watch out for these common causes of sinus infections.