It’s the Humidity, Stupid
The mysteries of the human sinuses continue to multiply apace. This week brings a story from MSNBC about chronic sinusitis, and the unexpected factor that may influence your sense of congestion: humidity.
As the authors of the study put it:
“Someone in the desert, all other things being equal, should feel less congested than someone in the jungle. In the low humidity of the desert, there is more evaporative cooling inside of the nose, such that the temperature of the nasal passages is lower. This leads to a feeling of greater air flow – and less sensation of obstruction.”
In other words, breathing highly humid air makes us feel congested – even when there may not be any mucus in our airways. Part of this is due to simple viscosity, of course – humid air tends to feel “heavier,” and harder to breathe. But another interesting theory has been raised: that the humidity itself acts as a signal to sensors in the nose that regulate evaporation and cooling. Those sensors respond by ramping up the sensation of obstruction, whether it is exists or not.
What is the take-away for patients like you? If you suspect your sinusitis is chronic, the best way to get a true diagnose is with a physician consult. Contact my Los Angeles sinus offices today to check your symptoms against the best imaging and diagnostic procedures in Los Angeles.