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How does air quality affect our sinuses?

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Does air quality affect our sinuses? California wildfires as well as those in other surrounding states can worsen our air quality. This can significantly impact the sinuses and the entire respiratory tract causing exacerbation of symptoms. The air quality is measured with the AQI or air quality index. This measures pollutant particles in the air. These include CO2 and CO “greenhouse” gases, pollen and dust particles. Increased particles are associated with fires like the California wildfires and Arizona wildfires that are common this time of year. Also, spring and fall “bloom” bring about higher levels of pollen. Dust particles are increased with wind which is common in the Nevada desert. Finally, the ozone layer which forms a protective barrier from UV radiation of the sun can trap pollutant particles creating a worsening air quality.

As we breathe through our nose, these pollutant particles cause allergic and non-allergic type reactions in the nasal and sinus airway. This produces inflammation which causes a variety of symptoms such as nasal congestion, excess mucus production and postnasal drainage. They can also lead to sinus infections, sinus headaches and impact the lower airway causing worsening of asthma or bronchitis.

So, what can we do to minimize the affects of poor air quality? First, avoid being outdoors during poor air quality days. Wear a face mask when outdoors. Use saline nasal rinses to wash foreign particles from the nose and sinuses. Ensure air filters are up to date and functioning properly. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for your sinus troubles!

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We will be out of the office from 7/2/24-7/5/24. If you're needing to make an appointment, please call Ear, Nose and Throat Consultants of Nevada at (702) 792-6700.

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