Swimmer’s Sinusitis

  Women has runny nose in the summer on vacation.

Most people connect sinus issues with allergy and cold seasons. Once the heat of summer arrives and everything has greened out, most people consider themselves free from the onset of sinus troubles. Yet, many people are surprised by a sinus attack during the middle of summer that can leave them just as miserable as pollen season.

Here in New York, the summer heat can be brutal. For a few months out of the year, New Yorkers understand why Southerners retreat to the North. Taking a dip in a swimming pool can offer sweet relief from the summer heat. However, that same water that helps keep you cool can actually be the root cause of your summer sinus problems. When chlorine enters the ears and nose, it can cause irritation and swelling. Over time, this reaction to chlorine can contribute to the development of a sinus infection. This is colloquially referred to as swimmer’s sinusitis. A sinus infection, also referred to as sinusitis, occurs when the thin lining of the sinuses swells, trapping mucus inside the sinus chambers and allowing bacteria to grow.

Symptoms of swimmer’s sinusitis are similar to any sinus infection that you may get throughout the year. Symptoms include:

  • Facial pain
  • Pressure at the temples, in your forehead, and around the eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • A loss of smell

It is important to pay attention to how you feel after you go swimming in a chlorinated pool. If you experience any of the above symptoms, chlorine may be irritating your sinuses. This does not mean that you have to avoid the pool all summer, but you will want to take some precautions before you dive in.

  • Avoid swimming soon after a pool has undergone a chlorine treatment when the chlorine level will be at its highest.
  • Use swimming earplugs and a nose clip to prevent water from entering.
  • After you swim, use a neti pot with a sterile saline solution to flush out any residual chlorine that may have slipped past the earplugs or nose clip.
  • Take a shower immediately after you swim.

If you still find after these precautions that swimmer’s sinusitis is keeping you from fully enjoying your summer, there may be an underlying issue to your sinus troubles. Contact New York Sinusitis Treatment to find the best course of treatment. Dr. Levitin wants to help you breathe freely again!