Posted by: cynewulffe | October 6, 2009

Humidity Affects sinus pressure, pain, and allergies

Even after sinus surgery, I’ve always known that my sinus pressure and pain was partially due to in-home air quality. I’ve spent a lot of time researching air filters and cleaners, covers, animals, and plants. But I’ve never looked into the humidity levels. I only pay attention when winter comes and whatever I touch creates a loud and bright blue shock of static electricity. The dogs hate it when I try to pick them up. They make a run for it!

Looking at some of the research out there, it appears that having proper humidity levels inside the house not only helps relieve sinus pressure and headaches, but also helps prevent colds and influenza. Of course there are limits. Many sinus sufferers face problems with low humidity. That’s when influenza and colds begin proliferating inside. Having high humidity can breed mold and dust mites, which can aggravate and set off allergies.

Where I live, high humidity is never a problem. The problem is ever-changing levels outside during most of the year, and low humidity during the winter months at times.

Of course, it is an individual and family based decision, but most humidity levels should be set between 35-55%. I aim for 45% because of the severe allergies in my family (need to stay below 60%), and the sinus issues we all have (over 35%), as well as the fact that we have school-aged children.

75-80% humidity is the level in which dust mites thrive.

60% humidity is the level in which molds thrive.

Low humidity leads to an increase in the risk of influenza.

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Responses

  1. Yes indeed, sinus infections can be a major drag and get in the way of just about EVERYTHING in life.

    I always tell people to start w/ nasal irrigation which may sound like less than a good time but can really help. Definitely start here before any kind of meds, in my opinion.

    There have also been advances in treating chronic sinusitis, most of which come in to play after you have a ct scan. Balloon sinuplasty is getting offered up as an alternative to traditional sinus surgery but like w/ anything else talk to your doctor because every case is different.

    Thanks for posting and Be Well!

  2. How are you determining the level of humidity? I know I could ask the interwebs but if you don’t mind sharing that would be great!

    • I have a high quality Oregon weather center (inside and outside) that helps me monitor conditions.

      • Thank you! The Mister has been eyeing one of those for quite some time. If he finds out that I now have a use for it I’m sure we’ll see it in his shopping basket soon.

  3. Hello and thanks for your post. Am just beginning to learn about these connections. I have sinusitis so terrible that I have no sense of smell or taste at all for months at a time. Now beginning to think that it has much to do with my living in the steamy lowlands on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Constant high temperatures and regular rain = very high humidity year round. And a house built to let in as much air as possible probably means it is also very high inside. Mold and fungi and much else abound. Not sure what to do, aside from trying to exchange my current place for one in a somewhat drier and somewhat cooler part of the country.
    Any ideas at all most welcome.

    • Hi. A suggestion I could give would be obviously to learn a lot about sinus and migraine headaches. Also, purchase a barometer and hygrometer (humidity) for inside and keep track of what numbers set off your headaches, and what pressures (high/low pressure, sudden changes from barometer). Besides using a dehumidier, moving is many times the only long term solution.


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