Nose and Sinus Problems with Asthma

Many people who have asthma also have long-term (chronic) problems of the nose and sinuses. These can include: 

  • Rhinitis. This is inflammation or swelling of the tissues in the nose.

  • Sinusitis. This is inflammation or swelling of the tissues in the sinuses. These are air-filled spaces in the bones of your face.

  • Rhinosinusitis. This is when you have both problems at the same time. You may have rhinitis without sinusitis. But sinusitis often happen only with rhinitis.


These conditions can have many causes. The cause may be a:

  • Virus

  • Bacteria

  • Fungus

  • Allergen

The same allergen can cause nasal, sinus, and asthma symptoms. Allergy shots will help you manage asthma and allergy rhinitis symptoms. And you should away from things that trigger your symptoms.


The symptoms of chronic sinusitis, rhinitis, or rhinosinusitis include:


  • Sneezing

  • Runny nose

  • Nasal or sinus congestion

  • Postnasal drip or drainage in the throat

  • Sore throat

  • Nasal itching

  • Headache

  • Pain, tenderness, or pressure in the face (often behind the cheeks and forehead)

  • Feeling tired

  • Loss of sense of smell

  • Bad breath

  • Pain in the teeth


The symptoms may make your asthma worse. They may also mean you have lung swelling and inflammation.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk with your healthcare provider. Or talk to an allergy doctor. Or see an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT). This kind of doctor is also called an otolaryngologist. Controlling your symptoms will help you control your asthma. So will staying away from triggers or allergens.


Treatment for any of these 3 conditions may include:


  • Decongestants

  • Antibiotics

  • Nasal corticosteroid spray

  • Mucus thinner

  • Nasal saline

  • Corticosteroid medicines


Online Medical Reviewer: Alan J Blaivas DO
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2019
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