Ask Well: Can Air-Conditioners Cause Sinus Congestion?


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Q. Do air-conditioners cause sinus congestion?

A. Yes, air-conditioners can make some people’s noses clog or run, for several reasons.

First, walking into a cold, dry room can trigger a runny nose, just as walking outside on a cold winter day drives many people to reach for tissues, said Dr. John Ohman, chief of the division of allergy at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. The cold air seems to trigger nervous system reflexes inside the nose that will cause glands inside the nasal membranes to produce mucus; the problem may be particularly common in those with allergies. nevertheless modifications in temperature in addition to also humidity should trigger only brief congestion, Dr. Ohman said.

Those with allergies might develop congestion because little particles like pollen, mold spores, pollutants in addition to also dust mites can get trapped by air-conditioning filters in addition to also then released into the air when the machine will be turned on, said Dr. Maria Garcia-Lloret, an allergist at the U.C.L.A. School of Medicine. Pollutants in addition to also bacteria wouldn’t cause an allergic reaction per se, she said, nevertheless could irritate the nose. Exposure to mold spores can cause allergic reactions that will may be particularly long-lasting.

Dr. Richard Lebowitz, a rhinologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, emphasized the importance of changing air-conditioning filters regularly. “If you don’t maintain them well in addition to also everything you breathe will be filtering through that will gigantic sheet of dust,” dispelling dust into the air, “that will’s not very helpful,” he noted.

Air-conditioners with clean filters can actually reduce sinus problems by keeping allergens out of the air, Dr. Lebowitz said. nevertheless there’s no way to avoid the runny nose that will comes via modifications in temperature in addition to also humidity. “Live with the idea — or sweat,” he said.

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Ask Well: Can Air-Conditioners Cause Sinus Congestion?

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