The Sinusitis and Asthma Link
Many people who have asthma also have chronic rhinitis, sinusitis, or rhinosinusitis. These conditions are long-term inflammation or swelling of the nose, sinuses, or both. The sinuses are air-filled pockets in the bones around your nose. Rhinitis can occur without sinusitis. Sinusitis usually doesn't occur without rhinitis. That is why the term rhinosinusitis is used.
Rhinitis and rhinosinusitis have many causes. The cause may be a virus, bacteria, fungus, or an allergy. If the cause is allergies, the same allergens may cause nasal, sinus, and asthma symptoms.
The symptoms of chronic rhinitis or rhinosinusitis include:
Nasal or sinus congestion
Postnasal drip or drainage in the throat
Pain or pressure in the face (especially behind the cheeks and forehead)
Loss of sense of smell
The symptoms may make your asthma worse, and may indicate swelling and inflammation in your lungs.
Be sure to talk to your health care provider if you have these symptoms. Controlling these symptoms will help you better control your asthma. Depending on the cause, treatment may include decongestants, antibiotics, nasal corticosteroid spray, mucus thinner, nasal saline, or corticosteroid medications.
For more information, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology website.
You may also visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America website.
- Holloway, Beth, RN, M.Ed.
- MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician