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  • Writer's pictureDr. Koralla Raja Meghanadh

Can The Cold Make Sinus Worse

It is common for sinusitis symptoms to get worse when a chronic sinusitis patient gets a cold. The existing symptoms could worsen or new symptoms could appear. This is a stage of sinusitis, and it is called “acute on chronic” sinusitis.


Can The Cold Make Sinus Worse


Cold is rhinitis, a nasal infection. When it is caused by a viral infection, it is called the common cold. Cold causes swelling in the structures of the nose, which usually resolves on its own. However, in some cases, when the cold is left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the upper respiratory system and cause complications like sinusitis. But why this happens?


Connection Between The Nose And Sinuses

The nose and sinuses are part of the upper respiratory system, connected through a mucosa lining. So, any infection in the nose is likely to affect other parts of the upper respiratory tract, including the sinuses, nose, throat, and windpipe.


Sinuses are air-filled cavities located around the nose and eyes, with openings that allow air circulation and mucus drainage. However, when someone with underlying conditions gets a cold, it can lead to blockage and fluid stagnation in the sinuses. This creates an ideal environment for bacteria, viruses, and fungi to thrive, causing infection of the sinus wall and leading to sinusitis.


But what if we have pre-existing sinusitis? Can the cold make it worse?


Chronic Sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis is the most prolonged stage of sinusitis, lasting over 45 days. Symptoms during this stage are typically mild, usually just one or two, and don't bother the patient much. This is because in chronic sinusitis, the infection persists for an extended period, and the body has adjusted to it, resulting in a balance between the infection and the body, thereby reducing the number of complaints.


How Chronic Sinusitis Turns Into Acute On Chronic Sinusitis When You Get Cold

When a person with chronic sinusitis catches a cold, it can cause additional swelling in the sinuses, leading to more blockages and fluid stagnation. This can worsen the sinusitis, potentially leading to acute on chronic sinusitis. Additionally, when someone with chronic sinusitis contracts new infections like colds, their immune system's focus shifts away from the chronic condition, making it easier for bacteria to thrive, resulting in more severe and possibly new symptoms.



In conclusion, the cold can indeed worsen sinus problems, particularly for those already dealing with chronic sinusitis. Therefore, it's essential to take preventive measures to avoid colds and manage sinusitis effectively to minimize its impact on daily life.

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