Sinus Infections

Is it Possible to Get a Summer Sinus Infection?

May 13, 2020

5 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

Does hot weather affect your sinuses as much as cold weather? When thinking about sinus infections, most people conjure up an image of someone with a red nose wearing a thick sweater and scarf, holding a cup of hot tea, and looking (perhaps a little forlornly) out a window at a winter scene. In other words, they think of winter sinusitis.

In fact, hot weather can and does affect the sinuses, making summer sinus infections in Texas a very real possibility for patients who struggle with sinusitis. In other words, if you start displaying either early signs of a sinus infection or later stage sinus infection symptoms in the middle of summer, it’s best not to shrug them off. 

Instead, read up on what can cause a summer sinus infection and call your trusted Houston ENT at Kaplan Sinus Relief. 

Hot weather situations that can lead to a summer sinus infection

Sinus infections are caused by the inflammation of the tissues lining the sinus cavities, and are the result of either a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. Conditions that make it difficult for the cilia (tiny hairs that help sweep away old mucus) to function increase your likelihood of coming down with a summer sinus infection. These conditions include but extend beyond summer’s definition trait: the heat.  

Heat, high humidity and sinus headaches

Typically, we talk about heat and humidity as being good for the sinuses. And that is true, but only to a certain extent. When it becomes very hot and/or very humid, those conditions cause your mucus to thicken, making it harder for the cilia to sweep it away. As this mucus builds up, it can cause an increase in sinus pressure in summer and become a breeding ground for infection. 

Can you get a sinus infection from air conditioning?

While it’s unlikely that your air conditioning is the direct cause of your sinus infection, it can certainly make things worse. Just like heat can cause your mucus to thicken and become sticky, air conditioning can dry out your mucus membrane, which in turn causes the same problems as extreme heat: thick mucus and poor sinus drainage. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re staying hydrated even if you’re indoors.  

Camping, swimming, allergies, and dust 

It gets hot and humid here in our beloved Houston Texas, but summer sinus infections occur all across the nation. That’s because you don’t have to be in Texas’s sweltering heat to get a summer sinus infection — allergens and other irritants such the chlorine in a swimming pool or the smoke from a campfire can irritate your sinuses, cause congestion, and ultimately create the conditions for a sinus infection to grow. 

Note: If you’re craving a swim, try finding a pool that uses saline, as this may actually help irrigate your sinuses. 

How to treat a summer sinus infection

While summer sinus infections are not as common as winter sinusitis, that doesn’t make getting one any less frustrating or painful. If you haven’t already, consider adding these precautions to your regimen for healthy sinuses.

  • Wash your hands after coming in from outside to remove the presence of pollen. If you have severe allergies, consider taking a shower or changing your clothes regularly. 
  • Bring your favorite reusable water bottle with you on outings to help you stay hydrated out in the heat.
  • Check whether or not you sleep or frequently sit directly in the stream of an air conditioner. If so, try to adjust your furniture or the flow of air so that you are no longer in its direct path. 
  • If you, someone you live with, or your office insists on keeping the A/C blasting 24/7, see whether or not you can invest in a humidifier. 
  • Should your sinuses be especially sensitive to smoke, chlorine, or other specific irritants, do you best to avoid them during the summer months. 
  • And of course, use your allergy medicine or nasal sprays as recommended by your general practitioner or your ENT.

If these treatments and home remedies for summer sinus issues don’t provide you with enough relief from summer sinus infections and/or chronic sinus infections, it may be time to consider a minimally-invasive surgical treatment such as balloon sinuplasty in Houston

Don’t let a summer sinus infection ruin your summer break or vacation

A summer sinus infection can really throw a wrench in your summer plans, as everything from flying with a sinus infection to exercising with a sinus infection becomes either more painful, difficult, or impossible. 

If you are susceptible to sinus infections and/or your sinus issues have not responded to standard, OTC sinus treatments, the option of balloon sinuplasty can provide a true “breath of fresh air.” A leading balloon sinuplasty doctor, Dr. Kaplan and the staff at Kaplan Sinus Relief have helped thousands of Houstonians find sinus relief. 

Read to take a summer break from sinus infections…and then stay on that break year-round? Call Kaplan Sinus Relief at 713-766-1818 or contact us online to request an appointment today.

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