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Avoiding a Painful Sinusitis Attack

Jan 13, 2015 11:40AM ● By Dia

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By Dr. Josh Prickett, Medical Director, North Tarrant E-Care Emergency Center 

Approximately 37 million Americans have to deal with some sort of sinus pain every year, and those numbers are on the rise. Sinusitis can lead to congestion and misery, and may even necessitate a visit to an emergency center. Here are some of the reasons that people experience sinus problems and what you can do to avoid them.

Why They Happen

Allergies are the leading cause of sinus attacks. Some people have issues during spring and fall – when pollen counts tend to be higher – while others have to deal with allergies year round. The second leading cause is the cold or flu. When a cold virus attacks your sinuses, they swell. As a result, your drainage pathways shrink and more mucus is produced. Even worse, a sinus infection can develop due to the growth of the bacteria in the mucus and linger for days or even weeks. 

There are a few other culprits, however. These include:

·      Indoor air contaminants such as cigarette smoke, household cleaners and pesticides

·      An anatomical problem such as a nasal bone spur or deviated septum

·      Diving or swimming, which can cause pressure changes in the nose and sinuses and lead to an increased risk for sinusitis

Defend Yourself

While there may be no foolproof way to protect yourself from a bout of sinusitis, there are measures you can take in order to lessen the risk, as well as lessen the severity should it occur.

·      Drink plenty of water each day – at least a quart. Increased moisture in the body can help mucus drain easier.

·      Try to maintain the proper humidity level in your home, but don’t overdo it. Somewhere in the range of 40-60% would be ideal. If your indoor air is too humid, dust mites and mold can accumulate and make you more susceptible to a wide range of problems, including sinus issues. But if the air is too dry, your sinuses could become irritated.

·      Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially during cold weather when viruses live longer on surfaces such as doorknobs.

When to Seek Medical Help

If you develop sinusitis and it does not improve after two days of home treatment, or it is accompanied by a fever that is 101°F or higher, get in touch with a medical professional as soon as you can. You should also call a doctor if you experience pain in your face or upper teeth, or if your pain runs from the bridge of your nose to your lower eyelid.

If you would like to learn more from doctors near Southlake about reducing your risks of developing sinusitis, call E-Care Emergency Centers at 817-281-7277 If you ever need emergency or urgent care, use this convenient form to check in online.


Josh Prickett, MD, is currently medical director for North Tarrant location of E-Care Emergency Center in North Richland Hills. Dr. Prickett graduated from the University of Oklahoma Medical School and has been practicing emergency care in Oklahoma, Minnesota and Texas since 1989.  He has been married to his wife Carin for 30 years. They have a son Jonathan, a daughter Whitney, and a son-in-law John. Dr. Prickett and his family are active in their church and love being a part of the Southlake community.