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The Sinusitis and Asthma Link

Many people who have asthma also have long-term (chronic) inflammation or swelling of the nose (rhinitis), sinuses (sinusitis), or both (rhinosinusitis). The sinuses are air-filled pockets in the bones around your nose. Rhinitis can happen without sinusitis. But sinusitis often doesn't happen without rhinitis.

Sinusitis, rhinitis, and rhinosinusitis have many causes. The cause may be a virus, bacteria, fungus, or an allergy. The same allergens may cause nasal, sinus, and asthma symptoms. Allergy shots (immunotherapy) will help manage asthma and allergy rhinitis symptoms. So will staying away from things that trigger your symptoms.

The symptoms of chronic sinusitis, rhinitis, or rhinosinusitis include:

  • Sneezing

  • Runny nose

  • Nasal or sinus congestion

  • Postnasal drip or drainage in the throat

  • Sore throat

  • Nasal itching

  • Headache

  • Pain, tenderness, or pressure in the face (especially behind the cheeks and forehead)

  • Feeling tired

  • Loss of sense of smell

  • Bad breath

  • Pain in the teeth

The symptoms may make your asthma worse. They may also mean you have lung swelling and inflammation.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk with your healthcare provider or an allergy doctor. Or talk with an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT or otolaryngologist). Controlling your symptoms will help you better control your asthma. So will staying away from triggers or allergens

Depending on the cause, treatment may include:

  • Decongestants

  • Antibiotics

  • Nasal corticosteroid spray

  • Mucus thinner

  • Nasal saline

  • Corticosteroid medicines

For more information, visit:

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Online Medical Reviewer: Alan J Blaivas DO
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2016
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