People usually associate sinus infection with cold weather. But for people with sinusitis, the symptoms can also occur when the environment is hot and humid. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic sinusitis affects 28.9 million people in the United States. To learn more about this, we spoke to Dr Diptarka Bhattacharyya, Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Specialist/Otorhinolaryngologist, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Koramangala, Bangaluru.
Expert Explains Impact of Heat and Humidity on Sinuses
Dr Bhattacharyya said, "Prolonged exposure to high temperatures and humidity can cause the nasal airways to become inflamed and narrow, making it harder for a person to breathe."
"This can lead to chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and bronchitis. Additionally, exposure to heat and humidity can increase the risk of developing sinus infections, which can become chronic if left untreated," he added.
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Long-Term Health Impact of Heat
Dr Bhattacharyya said, "Other potential long-term health effects of repeated exposure to extreme heat and humidity include dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, all of which can be serious and even life-threatening."
Impact of Heat Wave on Sinuses
Heat waves start forming when the mercury rises. During this time, your sinuses are also impacted. According to Dr Bhattacharyya, "During a heat wave, the body's natural cooling mechanisms, such as sweating, may not be enough to regulate the body's temperature, leading to dehydration and dryness in the nasal passages. This dryness can cause the mucus membranes to become more susceptible to infection, as they are less effective in trapping and removing foreign particles, such as bacteria or viruses."
Expert Tips To Prevent Sinus Infection During Heat Waves
The prevention of sinuses infection is possible if you take proper care of yourself and follow the instructions given by your healthcare provider. Here's what Dr Bhattacharyya has to say about this.
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According to Dr Bhattacharyya, "It is important to stay hydrated to prevent sinus infection during the summer season." Staying hydrated will also protect you from the impact of heat-related illnesses.
Avoid Outing on Peak Hours
It is best to stay indoors during peak hours when the sun is at its hottest, usually between 11 am-4 pm. If you wish to go outside, make sure to apply sunscreen, and wear a hat and sunglasses.
Use Saline Nasal Spray
Dr Bhattacharyya suggested using a saline nasal spray to keep the nasal passages moist. You can get this spray after a thorough consultation with your doctor.
Seek Medical Attention
Heat waves can seriously affect your body, along with your sinuses. During extreme heat events, you run the risk of getting heat stress conditions, such as heat stroke. Dr Bhattacharyya added, "You should seek medical attention if symptoms of heat-related illness develop."
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