Can the weather affect your sinuses?

Can the weather affect your sinuses?

Can the weather affect your sinuses?

As we move through the different seasons, there are probably a number of adjustments you make in your everyday life to help you adapt to the changing weather. These can include changes such as switching up your wardrobe depending on the temperature and resetting your thermostat, whether you crank it up during the winter months or switch it off completely for the summer. Especially here in the UK, the weather can also heavily influence your plans, or even change them completely. 
Aside from your day-to-day life, the weather can impact your health too[1], especially your sinuses, but why is this the case? In this article, we take a closer look at how the weather forecast can affect your wellbeing and what you can do about it.

Does weather pressure affect your sinuses?

In short, yes – weather pressure can in fact affect your sinuses, especially if there is a sudden change in the forecast. As weather patterns shift, you may find that you start to feel pressure in your sinuses, primarily in your nose, through your cheekbones, across your forehead and around the eyes. In turn, you may develop headaches, congestion and sinus inflammation. These symptoms can often feel uncomfortable and in some cases, even painful, making you feel extremely unwell. If these symptoms linger, this can lead to an infection of the sinuses, otherwise known as sinusitis.

How does the weather affect your sinuses?

But how does the weather have the ability to affect your sinuses in this way? It’s thought to be down to atmospheric pressure[2], which is also known as barometric pressure. If this pressure shifts, the pressure of the oxygen in the air we breathe shifts. As a result, this causes the way the blood flows around the body to change too, resulting in an increased or decreased blood pressure.

This change is often sudden and, because it is sometimes combined with changes in temperature and humidity, it can cause the nasal membranes to swell, leading to sinus pressure. You may then experience a stuffy or runny nose, and it can trigger headaches and even migraines.

How to treat sinus problems

The link between atmospheric pressure and the sinuses is not entirely understood by scientists or medical professionals, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact changes that cause these sinus problems. However, there are a number of things you can do to try and relieve your symptoms if your sinuses suffer as a result of the changing weather.

For example, a decongestant can provide effective, short-term relief from nasal congestion, including symptoms such as a blocked nose and facial pressure. This treatment works by reducing the swelling of the blood vessels in the nose so that the airways open up, unblock your sinuses and in turn, allow you to breathe more easily.

You could even try using a saline nasal spray. This treatment can help increase the moisture inside the nose and thin out the mucus in the nasal passages, reducing inflammation and relieving pressure as a result.

Painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, can help relieve sinus headaches, while throat sprays can help provide fast, effective relief for a sore throat. It’s also important to ensure that you’re drinking plenty of fluids and getting enough rest.

You may also find it useful to keep an eye on the weather, especially changes in the barometric pressure so that you’re aware of when drops and rises are expected to take place. This may give you the opportunity ahead of time to use preventative treatments that can help minimise your symptoms.