Why Do I Keep Getting Sinus Infections?


Here it comes again: the sneezing, the headaches, the sniffles. Because of that overstuffed feeling behind your cheeks, you can tell it’s likely more than a simple cold–it’s a sinus infection.

Again.

Repeated sinus infections (sometimes called chronic sinusitis by medical professionals) can be a significant issue for those that experience them, leading to miserable days in bed (and sometimes sick days). Sinus infections are particularly uncomfortable, and they usually cannot be treated with antibiotics.

The best way to keep your life sinusitis-free is through prevention, especially if you have experienced repeated sinus infections already.

What causes chronic sinusitis?

Sinus infections can be caused by a virus, a fungal infection, or bacteria. It can even happen simply during allergy season if your nose gets clogged up. That makes a sinus infection difficult to treat via medication because antibiotics only work on bacterial infections, though sometimes you’ll be given a steroid to help manage symptoms and swelling.

That leaves your immune system to do the heavy lifting. Most of the time, that’s no problem. But when sinus infections are presented with favorable conditions, symptoms can linger.

In most cases, sinus infections thrive when there’s an excess of fluid buildup in your sinuses. Some of the reasons why sinus infections might keep popping up include:

Nasal Polyps: These growths in your nasal passageway are usually non-hazardous. However, nasal polyps can block drainage out of your sinuses. That means fluid is more likely to build up and could result in repeated sinus infections.

In-home heating: Sinus infections are more common in winter. In part, that’s because your in-home heating system tends to dry out your air. That dryness can diminish the mucus membranes that usually act as the first line of defense against infection.

Deviated nasal septum: If your nasal septum is deviated, you may experience difficulty properly draining your sinuses. This traps fluid in the sinuses and can cause chronic, prolonged, or more severe sinus infections.

Allergies and infections: In many cases, you get a cold first and a sinus infection second. That’s because those initial infections can create the perfect conditions for sinusitis to take root. So if you have allergies or chronic respiratory infections, for example, you’re more likely to develop chronic sinus infections, too.

Other conditions: There are a number of other conditions which may lead to chronic sinus infections, such as issues with the immune system, Cystic fibrosis, and more.

If you’re experiencing chronic sinus infections, it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional about your treatment and prevention options–as well as identifying the underlying causes.

How to prevent chronic sinus infections

There are some simple things you can do around the house to prevent sinus infections from developing in the first place. Among the easiest and most common include the following:

  • Run a humidifier when possible. This will help keep that dry air away.
  • Wash your hands frequently. It’s good hygiene, and it can help prevent the spread of germs (for example, cold germs) that cause infections.
  • Wash surfaces and clothing frequently. On the one hand, this helps eliminate germs. But, perhaps, more importantly, vacuuming, washing your sheets, and all that can help keep allergens at bay. The less pet dander or dust on your sheets, the easier you’ll breathe. And that means your sinuses are less likely to become clogged.
  • Take a warm shower with lots of steam! This will help replenish or relieve those mucus membranes when you’re dealing with that dry air.
  • Drink plenty of water. This is for the same reason: when you’re hydrated, your mucus membranes are less likely to dry out.

 

Medical prevention for sinus infections

Of course, these home remedies aren’t going to work for everyone. For some people, the sinus infections might just keep coming, no matter how moist the air in your home may be. For many, the solution is a procedure called balloon sinuplasty.

During a balloon sinuplasty, a catheter is inserted through the nose into the sinuses. Once in the sinus area, a special, tiny balloon is inflated, which helps the sinus passages to open more widely. Then the balloon is deflated. This all occurs under general anesthesia–and because it’s minimally invasive, there’s much less recovery and discomfort following this procedure than there would be with similar surgical procedures.

Finding the solution that’s right for you

If you are experiencing chronic sinus infections, there are solutions that generate relief–especially via prevention. Your physician or surgeon will be able to help you determine which therapies and treatments will be the right fit for your symptoms and condition.

You don’t have to go through another winter filled with constant sinus infections. You can get relief by talking to your doctor!

Want more information?

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