Asthma and sinusitis are two common conditions that a person may experience at the same time. Sinusitis can trigger asthma, and a person with asthma may be more likely to develop sinusitis.

Typically, a person with severe asthma could have a higher risk of sinusitis.

This article discusses the link between asthma and sinusitis, treatments available for both conditions, and when a person should consult a doctor.

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Research suggests that 22–45% of people with asthma will experience chronic sinusitis. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list sinusitis as a possible trigger for asthma symptoms.

If a person with asthma develops sinusitis, it can make asthma symptoms more difficult to manage, including:

Managing asthma symptoms reduce the risk of developing sinusitis.

Although viral infections are the most common cause of sinusitis, asthma can also cause sinusitis.

A person with asthma is more likely to develop sinus issues such as sinusitis and nasal polyps. This is because asthma is more likely to inflame a person’s airways.

An individual can work with a healthcare professional to develop an appropriate treatment plan for their asthma and sinusitis.

Asthma treatment

Several treatments are available for asthma — some for the quick relief of asthma symptoms during an asthma attack and other long-term treatments to help reduce the frequency and intensity of attacks.

Quick relief treatments for asthma can include:

Long-term treatments for asthma can include:

  • Corticosteroids: These can help reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Biologics: A person may inject these medications into a vein or under the skin.
  • Leukotriene modifiers: These medications can reduce swelling and help keep the airways open, such as montelukast.
  • Mast cell stabilizers: A healthcare professional may suggest adding medications such as cromolyn sodium to an inhaler to help prevent swelling in the airways.
  • Long-acting bronchodilators: Adding medications such as long-acting beta2-agonists (LABAs) or long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs) to an inhaler can help prevent the airways from narrowing.
  • Allergy shots: A person may consider immunotherapy to reduce the effect of allergens on the body.

Learn more about treatments for asthma.

Sinusitis treatment

A person may be able to treat sinusitis with over-the-counter (OTC) medications and home remedies. If sinusitis symptoms persist, a person may want to visit a healthcare professional.

The National Health Service in the United Kingdom recommends the following actions and treatments for sinusitis:

People with asthma require regular checkups and need to inform a healthcare professional if their asthma attacks increase in frequency or severity.

They should speak with a healthcare professional as soon as possible if they experience any of the following symptoms:

A person should call 911 or go to the emergency room if they experience any of the following asthma symptoms:

  • lips or nails turning blue
  • flaring nostrils on every inhale
  • stretched-looking skin between the ribs or at the base of the throat on every inhale
  • breathing 30 or more times in a minute
  • if talking or walking at a usual pace becomes difficult

A person experiencing symptoms of sinusitis should also consult a healthcare professional if they have multiple sinus infections over the course of a year or have any of the following symptoms:

  • severe headaches
  • severe facial pain
  • symptoms that have worsened after improving
  • symptoms that have lasted more than 10 days
  • a fever that has lasted 3–4 days

Research suggests a link between asthma and sinusitis, with 22–45% of people living with asthma also experiencing chronic sinusitis.

Sinusitis can also trigger asthma symptoms.

Several medications can help relieve symptoms of both conditions, including antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays.