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Summer Sinusitis: July 16, 2014

The heat of summer - just when you thought your sinuses were going to dry up - think again. Summer is prime time for sniffles and stuffy noses.

“Sinusitis is actually rhinosinusitis and it is one of the most common presentations in primary care. Roughly 1 in 7 adults will present to their health care provider with inflammation,” says Arlene Wright, who is a nurse practitioner for Lee Memorial Health System.

It can result in facial pain, discharge, headache, sometimes a fever. Sinusitis comes from several sources.

“You have to differentiate: not only is it viral or bacterial. Or is it allergy related?” says Wright.

Its allergies fueling Chrisy Sutton’s constant congestion.

“Pollen. Definitely pollen,” says Sutton.

Her condition gets worse in the summer.

“When it’s the more humid it gets, the worse my allergies get,” says Sutton.

Frequent sinus sufferers will also point to the weather itself as a trigger. It’s thought the mucus in our noses may become thicker, which blocks sinuses and leads to congestion. In turn it causes pain, stuffiness and headaches.

“What your goal is, is to relieve the pain. Which can be done with some type of acetaminophen or anti-inflammatory for the pain, nasal steroids to help reduce the inflammation, nasal saline to basically keep things moist,” says Wright.

If symptoms persist and the sinusitis is bacterial, antibiotics may be in order.

“Some of the guidelines changed as of 2012 - is persistent symptoms greater than 10 days, worsening headaches, fever, which with a common cold you don’t have,” says Wright.

As Chrisy knows- the nose doesn’t necessarily take a vacation.

“Right up in here just gets all congested anytime I’m outside in the summer,” says Sutton.