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Sinusitis and Asthma: What’s the Connection?

Sinusitis and asthma symptoms may be connected. Nearly half of individuals with moderate to severe asthma also experience sinusitis. Experiencing sinusitis on top of asthma can be difficult to manage when the symptoms leave you feeling sick and miserable. If left untreated, symptoms can worsen and even result in more severe cases of asthma.

If you’ve experienced a combination of sinusitis and asthma, you’re not alone. Learn more about the link between these two conditions and how to treat them.

What Is Sinusitis?

When the lining of your sinuses (the small cavities around the nose) become inflamed, this is referred to as sinusitis. As your sinuses become inflamed, they can fill with mucus and the drainage tracts can become blocked.

Common symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Pain where the sinuses are located (cheeks, forehead, top of the nose)
  • Blocked nose
  • Loss of smell
  • Green or yellow mucus coming from the nose
  • Toothache-like pain
  • Fever

The condition can last for days-to-weeks (acute sinusitis) or for three months or more (chronic sinusitis). Acute or chronic sinusitis can be caused by allergies, viral infections of the upper respiratory tract, bacterial infections, fungal infections, smoking, or a compromised immune system.

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease causing inflammation in the airways. An asthma flare-up or asthma attack can happen at any time. While mild symptoms may only last a few minutes, severe symptoms can last for hours or days.

Common symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Tight chest

The Link Between Sinusitis and Asthma or Allergies

According the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, there is a link between chronic sinusitis and asthma in some people. Both asthma and sinusitis may be triggered by inflammation to an allergen or irritant. In addition, postnasal drip caused by sinusitis may trigger coughing arising from the throat which can aggravate asthma symptoms.

Chronic sinusitis can sometimes be associated with allergic conditions such as hay fever. An allergic response can cause drainage channels to become blocked and result in an infection or inflammation in the sinuses.

How Are Sinusitis and Asthma Treated?

Treatment for sinusitis can depend on whether the condition is acute or chronic and the root cause. Acute symptoms due to a viral infection typically go away on their own within a couple of weeks. Decongestant and other over-the-counter medications can help clear the airways and offer relief of headaches. If symptoms persist after 10 days, it’s best to see your doctor.

If your doctor suspects a bacterial infection, you may be prescribed antibiotics to clear the infection and reduce the inflammation.

An allergy specialist can help determine if you have underlying allergies or asthma that may be contributory. Allergists can also assist by developing a better management plan for your asthma, including preventive treatment, can help reduce inflammation and persistent symptoms. Work with an asthma specialist to develop a treatment plan to prevent and reduce asthma and sinusitis symptoms.

Don’t let sinusitis or asthma get the best of you. Contact the Allergy & Asthma Specialists of North Florida to schedule an appointment and develop an effective treatment plan.

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