Why Does Sinus Infection Season Start in the Fall?
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First of all, why do people have sinuses?
The sinuses in our head are air-filled cavities lined with pillowy glands that produce mucus. They make the head lighter and easier to move as well as lift and turn from side to side. They help warm, filter and moisturize the air that we breathe and shape the sound of our voices. Sinuses can act as airbags to protect our brain and other important tissue in the event of trauma to the face. We have four pairs of sinuses, bringing your total number of sinuses to eight.
What is a sinus infection?
A sinus infection is when the contents of the sinuses become backed up and infected. Sometimes, they come with bad headaches or runny noses with yellow, green or brown mucus.
How do we know if it just a cold or a sinus infection?
Colds and sinus infections present with similar symptoms like congestion, sneezing, cough, etc. Colds happen when a virus infects the upper respiratory tract. This includes your nose, mouth and throat. Symptoms typically last for 7 to 10 days. Colds can cause sinus infections, but so can bacteria and allergies. Sinus infections are usually accompanied by sinus pressure in the front of the face or around your eyes, headache, bad breath or discolored mucus.
Why does everyone seem to have sinus infections starting in the fall?
Fall is a common time of year for sinus infections due to types of seasonal pollen like ragweed, HVAC systems and the start to school, where viruses are more easily passed from one person to another. Allergies cause sinus infections by increasing inflammation and swelling inside the nose. When the nose is stuffy, it isn’t able to warm, filter or moisturize the air you breath and sinuses cannot drain as they should to keep you healthy. Mucus that remains in the sinuses can become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.
What can I do to prevent sinus infections in my child or myself?
To prevent sinus infections, keep your nose clear and regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water. A daily nasal steroid spray or saline lavage can be helpful to control a stuffy nose. If you are dealing with sinus infections, feel free to make an appointment with one of our board-certified allergists near you in Atlanta, Lawrenceville or Conyers by calling or on our website, www.allergyinatlanta.com