How Heat and Humidity Harm Sinuses

July 5, 2017

3 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

Houston weather isn’t easy on anybody. But for people with sinusitis and other sinus issues, the constantly changing weather can make life absolutely miserable. The unpredictability can certainly be rough, but the heat and humidity can truly harm your sinuses. As Houston’s long, hot summer continues to settle in, learn why the heat and humidity affect your sinuses, and what you can do to relieve your symptoms during these warm months.

“Why Do Heat and Humidity Affect My Sinuses?”

We normally associate sinus infections and runny noses with cold weather, but for people with sinusitis, these symptoms can strike during a warm day at the beach. But why?
Your sinuses are lined by a delicate layer of skin known as the mucous membrane. The mucous membrane is partially made up of tiny hair-like particles known as cilia. Working together, the cilia are supposed to help clean your sinuses, brushing out any left-over mucus that could clog your sinuses. Cilia thrive in slightly warm, moist climates; as anyone who has spent more than five minutes in Houston will tell you, Houston’s heat and humidity takes both to an uncomfortable extreme.

In the extreme heat and humidity, cilia don’t function properly, allowing mucus to clog and bacteria to flood into the sinuses. When bacteria, allergens, and other irritants invade your sinuses, the mucous membrane becomes inflamed, leading to painful sinus symptoms including mucus buildup and pressure. On top of the heat and humidity, now you have sinus pain, pressure, swelling and headaches to deal with.

How To Relieve Summer Sinus Infections

It’s not always possible to avoid the humidity, but there are still steps you can take to achieve relief and avoid sinus infections during summer.

  • Avoid Seasonal Allergens: In addition the heat and humidity, people with sensitive sinuses also have summer allergens to deal with, especially pollen. Keep your indoor spaces clean with a HEPA air filter and vacuum regularly so that your sinuses can get a rest while indoors.
  • Be Careful Around Irritants: If you have sinus issues, you might want to be careful at your summer cookouts. Smoke is a common sinus irritant, and when combined with heat and humidity, it can quickly turn into a recipe for a sinus infection. Steer clear of cigarette smoke, and don’t spend too much time inhaling smoke near the grill.
  • Use Nasal Sprays: Keeping your nasal passages moist helps to keep your cilia in proper working shape. If you know you’re susceptible to sinus infections, take early action by using nasal spray.
  • Seek Help For Chronic Sinus Infections: Sometimes sinus infections can be a sign of a larger problem. If you experience summer sinus infections in addition to other sinus problems year-round, it might be worth seeing a sinus specialist to find a solution.

Prevent Summer Sinus Infections at Kaplan Sinus Relief

If you suffer from frequent sinus infections and chronic sinusitis, all the nasal spray in the world won’t prevent you from getting sinus infections. At Kaplan Sinus Relief, Dr. Kaplan and his team specialize in Balloon Sinuplasty, a revolutionary procedure that painlessly delivers lasting sinus relief through any weather, even Houston’s heat. To determine if Balloon Sinuplasty, or any of Dr. Kaplan’s other treatments are right for you, schedule a consultation today.


4101 Greenbriar Street, Suite 320

Houston, TX 77098