The Common Cold Can Lead to Sinus Infections in the Winter Months
A sinus infection (or sinusitis) occurs when the tissue lining in your sinus cavity becomes swollen or inflamed. When your sinuses are blocked, they become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses that can lead to an infection. That’s why it’s best to visit your doctor at the first signs of a sinus infection. Otherwise, it could lead to a chronic condition. Here’s how to know if your sinus infection has developed into something more dangerous:
• Dry air – Running furnaces to keep warm will dry out the air even more. Minimizing moisture in the air can severely dry out the membranes in our noses, causing mucus to become thicker, and potentially leading to congestion, blocked sinuses, and infection.Keep an eye on the humidity level in your home and consider a humidifier if air is consistently dry, if necessary.
• Dust and dander – Curly up with cozy blankets is ideal in the Winter months. However, blankets gather dust – a common trigger of sinusitis. Pet dander is another trigger, which can accumulate more quickly in the Winter as our pets spend more time indoors on carpets and rugs, perhaps even bundling up in the cozy blanket. Your Winter bedding should be dry and dust-free. You may want to create a pet-free zone on your bed to decrease dander. Vacumming often can also help with dust and dander.
• Furnaces, heaters and fireplaces – As we know, furnaces and electric heaters dry out the air at high speeds. What about a crackling fire to stay warm? This may not be the best option in your home. Your nasal passages can be irritated by the smoked that is let out from the wood-burning fire. In addition to keeping air moist, it’s important to be sure it’s as clean as possible as well.
• Cold and flu – Cold and flu season, for a lot people, means sinus season. A simple stuffy nose can absolutely lead to a sinus infection. When a cold causes inflammation, swelling and congestion, it’s not uncommon for the sinuses to become blocked, unable to drain. If this lingers, the sinuses can become infected. If the congestion and pain don’t clear up, be sure to consult with one of our physicians.
For more information about identifying and treating a sinus infection, or to learn more about the other services we provide, please call our office at 732-280-7855 or visit our website.