How a Sudden Change in Weather Affects Your Sinuses

October 20, 2017

4 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

A sudden change in weather is all too familiar to Houstonians, often foiling forecasters and bringing occasional havoc to commutes. But the beginning of a new season is usually a time for excitement, especially if it means a break from the heat and humidity. However, for people with sinus problems, the shift in weather—especially from summer to fall—can cause sinus pressure.

Sudden changes in weather can bring unwelcome chronic nasal congestion, sinus infections, headaches, and intense seasonal allergies. What causes this misery, and what can you do to stop it? Let’s explore how weather affects your sinus health and ways you can stay healthy and comfortable year-round.

Barometric Pressure and Sinus Headaches

One of the trickiest climate issues for people with sinus problems is also one you might not notice. Have you ever seen the large “H” and “L” letters in the weather forecast map? If not, you may want to pay more attention to them; they signify changes in barometric pressure. Changes in barometric pressure accompany sudden changes in the weather, and can cause alterations in your blood pressure. For sinus sufferers, this may result in painful, sudden sinus pressure, sinus headaches, and stuffiness.

Even though the results are painful, most people don’t notice a change in barometric pressure until it’s too late. So how can you stay on top of the weather and prevent weather-related sinus headaches? It all starts with better awareness. If you suffer from sinus headaches, start keeping track of the weather and documenting how your sinuses feel. Look for patterns. With a strong understanding of when and how your sinus headaches are triggered, you and your sinus treatment specialist can develop a plan to prevent your sinus headaches before they can drag you down.

How Dry Air Affects Your Sinuses

In Houston, one of the best things about fall and winter is the break from the humidity. Unfortunately, for people with sinus issues, dry air creates its own discomforts. The arrival of fall may not cause a sudden change in weather, but the seasonal shift can still be unpleasant for those with sinus problems. Dry air has been known to cause respiratory problems, dehydration, dried nostrils, damaged cilia, decreased vitamin A levels, as well as sore throats. Additionally, dry sinuses are 50% more likely to attract bacteria and become infected than moist sinuses.

While you can’t control what the weather does outside, controlling your indoor climate can go a long way towards keeping your sinuses healthy during the dry fall and winter months. We recommend investing in a humidifier, and keeping your air conditioning sources and other surfaces around your house clean from allergens and bacteria. Doing so may help ward off sudden sinus pressure and a rapid spiral down to other sinus conditions. Cleaner indoor spaces give your sinuses more time to recover before you return outside, making it easier to ward off painful infections.

Identifying Sudden Weather Changes, Seasonal Allergies & Sinusitis

Even for people without chronic sinusitis or other sinus health issues, allergies can be a painful reminder of sudden weather changes. But how can you tell whether allergies are causing your pain or if you have an actual sinus infection? If you don’t have a history of frequent sinus infections and think your allergies may be giving you trouble, try taking an antihistamine to address your symptoms. If your sinus problems are caused by allergies, taking an antihistamine should provide some relief. However, antihistamines are not helpful for non-allergy related sinus issues. Even if they provide some relief, don’t just keep taking antihistamines. Schedule an allergy test to evaluate your sinus situation and to determine effective long-term treatment.

Survive Every Season With Sinus and Allergy Treatments from Kaplan Sinus Relief

Whether you’re suffering from painful dry air, nagging allergies, or something in-between, Kaplan Sinus Relief provides you with lasting sinus relief. As Houston’s leader in balloon sinuplasty, we provide help to people with chronic sinusitis and offer quality allergy treatments to help you both diagnose and treat your painful seasonal allergies. Are you ready to regain your comfort? The road to healthier sinuses is just an appointment away.


4101 Greenbriar Street, Suite 320

Houston, TX 77098