Humidity & Sinus Infections


Sinus infections affect more than 35 million people in the United States every year according to There are many factors that play into sinus infections like allergies, environment and illness. Sinus infections can occur as an isolated incident, chronically or reoccurring. An isolated incident is a sinus infection that sets in an individual but is fought off by antibiotics within three to four days. Chronic sinus infections can last from six to eight weeks with very little relief while reoccurring sinus infections come and go often and need to be controlled by diet, environment and humidity.


Humidity plays a significant role in either preventing or causing sinus infections. An environment that is too dry can cause irritation of the sinus cavity which can lead to an infection while a highly humid environment can cause excessive congestion, leading to an infection. The perfect humidity is between 20 and 40 percent according to Air conditioners and heaters alike remove humidity from the air, so it is recommended to run a humidifier whenever either of these devices are in use.


The function of humidity is to provide an environment that the sinus cavity can thrive in. The sinuses are very temperamental and sensitive. Moving from various temperatures and humidity’s can overwork the sinuses causing them to become irritated and overproduce mucus which can result in an infection.


The effect of humidity from various environments causes the sinuses to react in one of two ways. If the environment is too humid, the sinus cavity will attempt to release excess moisture and empty the sinus cavity of the mucus. If the environment is too dry, the sinus cavity will attempt to produce more mucus to overcompensate for the lack of moisture. Every time the humidity changes, the sinus cavity must adjust to either make up for lacking moisture or try to dry out for too much moisture.


People who suffer from sinus infections tend to believe if they were to move to a warmer or less humid location, it would help prevent sinus infections. This is a misconception because no place on earth is at a perfect humidity all year round. With the use of air conditioning and heating units, the humidity indoors can change drastically from location to location.


The best solution is to keep your home, where you spend most of your time, at the perfect humidity. When you go out, take saline spray, which can provide the appropriate amount of moisture in dry locations. Try to keep the sinuses moistened and not too dry. If you begin to feel your sinuses acting up, take a decongestant to calm any irritation that may be occurring.

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