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Why do I keep getting sinus infections?

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Sniffles and sneezes are already bothersome, but what happens when these small sickness symptoms become something more? Acute sinus infections can be a (literal) pain. However, for nearly 12% of American adults, this uncomfortable illness has become a recurring issue. 

If you find yourself afflicted by regular sinus pain and pressure, you may be living with chronic sinusitis, otherwise known as recurring sinus infections.

What is a sinus infection?

With 31 million annual cases, sinus infections usually result from prolonged sinus inflammation. Typically, sinus cavities produce mucous to keep nasal passages moist, but the inflammation brought on by a cold or allergies kicks that production into overdrive. As the cavities remain inflamed, mucous may become trapped and create a warm, moist environment perfect for infection to thrive.

Why do I have recurring sinus infections?

Chronic sinusitis, or recurring sinus infections, can be identified by sinus inflammation symptoms lasting more than three months. However, it is possible that you may experience several unique cases of acute sinusitis before developing a chronic case. These infections can affect children and adults. 

Recurring sinus infections can result from several factors, including the common cold, uncontrolled allergies and more. The following are common causes of chronic sinusitis.

  • Deviated nasal septum: A crooked “wall” between the nostrils can block nasal passages and worse sinusitis symptoms.
  • Respiratory tract infections: Infections of the respiratory, commonly caused by bacteria and viruses, which irritate and inflame the sinuses.
  • Untreated allergies: Common allergies, often referred to as “hay fever,” can cause inflammation which blocks the sinuses.

You may be affected by recurring sinus infections if you experience these symptoms:

  • Tenderness or swollenness of the eye, nose or forehead
  • Post nasal drip
  • Nasal inflammation
  • Runny nose or congestion

How do I prevent recurring sinus infections?

Though frustrating, chronic sinusitis can often be managed through saline nasal irrigation and corticosteroids. There are also steps you can take to reduce your likelihood of developing this chronic condition.

  1. Take control of your allergies. By working with a board-certified allergist, you can identify the root cause of your allergy symptoms and develop a plan to treat and beat irritation. Speak with your allergist about the long-term and lasting relief offered by immunotherapy.
  2. Avoid respiratory infections. Like with allergens, avoidance is key for those prone to respiratory infections. Steer clear of people battling colds and infections, and practice proper hygiene (like handwashing) to stop the spread of germs.
  3. Use a humidifier. Adding moisture to your air may help reduce the likelihood of inflammation. Clean your humidifier regularly to avoid build of mold and mildew. Also, monitor the humidity level in your home as environments that are too humid can increase dust mite levels.

Charleston Allergy and Asthma is here for you! 

Kick sickness to the curb, and take control of your allergies! At Charleston Allergy and Asthma, our board-certified allergy specialists are committed to spreading health and happiness to all our Lowcountry patients. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and explore our site to learn more about our services.

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