Dry Air and Sinusitis: Is the Dry Air Making My Sinusitis Worse?

Dry Air and Sinusitis: Is the Dry Air Making My Sinusitis Worse?

Dry Air and Sinusitis

When it’s cold outside, it’s not uncommon for people to spend the majority of their time indoors during the winter season. However, when it comes to winter, there’s more than just the cold air that will get you. During the winter season, the cold air is dry, and when you go inside to escape the heat, that air is often dry as well, especially if you are using forced-air heating or a wood-burning stove. When the heat is on indoors, it can reduce the moisture in the air, drying out your sinuses, which can cause sinusitis symptoms to occur. This is why dry air and sinusitis can, sadly, go hand-in-hand.

Dry Air and Sinusitis: What are the Effects of Dry Air on Our Body?

• Dry skin
• Eczema
• Chapped lips
• Joint and muscle pain
• Tender eyes
• Watery eyes
• Itchy eyes
• Itchy throat
• Hoarse throat
• Dehydration
• Respiratory problems

If you are living in an environment that has dry air and often experience these symptoms, this can lead to frequent or chronic sinusitis. If you are unsure if dry air is present in your home, review these common characteristics:

• Peeling of wallpaper (usually at the edges)
• Increase in static electricity
• There are gaps present in the crown moldings (along the tops of the walls)
• Holes and cracks present in hardwood floors
• Household items appear shrunken or warped
• Your piano (if you own one), frequently needs to be tuned

If you find that you have dry air present in your home or office, check out these helpful tips that can help you avoid experiencing sinusitis symptoms.

• Steam therapy can help keep your nasal passages moisturized. Certain gyms and recreation centers may have one for you to use, or you can make your own at home by having a hot shower running inside a bathroom with the door(s) closed.

• While you may need your daily dose of caffeine for a pick me up, caffeinated beverages, such as soda and coffee, can make the effects of dry air on your sinuses even worse. Try to avoid or at least limit your daily consumption.

• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water daily. If you aren’t a fan of water, hydrating foods can also help. Even if the air is dry, if you keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water daily, you can help counterbalance the adverse effects of dry air.

• If you can afford it, invest in a humidifier to help keep the air in your home or office moisturized. If your humidifier can read the humidity level in the room, even better! The humidity level in your home should remain somewhere in between 35 to 45% relative humidity.

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The Staff and Doctors of The New York Otolaryngology Group