Pollution and Sinusistis: What is the link?

Pollution containing pollutants causes irritation in the nose and sinuses resulting from direct contact with nasal mucosa, leads to inflammation, edema, swelling and blocking of sinuses.

Pollution, Sinusistis
Sad and depressed man holding his head with his hand, standing by the window. man holds his nose and sinus area with fingers in obvious pain from a head ache in the front forehead area.

By Dr. Nayeem Ahmad Siddiqui

Primarily the nose is the organ first encountered by inhaled air and its associated pollutants. These pollutants get deposited during inhalation. These particles accumulate on mucus and are absorbed in the nasal mucosa, creating bad effects on the body. Pollution containing pollutants causes irritation in the nose and sinuses resulting from direct contact with nasal mucosa, leads to inflammation, edema, swelling and blocking of sinuses. The result of these irritations is acute and chronic sinusitis.

The result is acute and chronic sinusitis. Absorption of such chemicals into the body has systemic effects. Their effect on the immune system, although mild, leads to severe changes in the allergic diathesis. The T suppressor cell is the most sensitive cell of the immune system and gets affected by exposure to chemical pollutants. Diminution of the suppressor activity and the relative increase in helper activity in turn lead to increased immunoglobulin production and the manifestation of allergy symptoms. The underlying biochemical reaction is caused by the effects of pollutants on the T suppressor cell. Patients with existing allergies become brittle and difficult to treat. Removal of these chemical pollutants from the body as quickly as possible is essential for effective treatment of this problem. Dietary antioxidants help reduce the oxidizing effect of the pollutants and act as conjugators to remove the pollutants from the body.

Air pollutants contribute major to pathogenesis of airway conditions, eg, sinusitis, sinonasal cancers and rhinitis. Researchers have also said that ash, smog, fog and other such particulates from various sources pollute air quality which raise rates of asthma and sinus issues. We all have identified that breathing in dirty air directly causes breakdown in the integrity of the sinuses and nasal air passage. So, it is very important to protect the cells in tissues from irritation and infection from sources viz, pollens and germs etc.

A new WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. Some 3 million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air.

People who get rhinitis – an inflamed or congested nose from cold or allergies may feel merely worse if they are exposed to high levels of air pollution.

How to get rid of sinus problems in air pollution – Using air purifiers help with sinus infections. Air purifiers remove allergens and other pollutants from the air in your home. When we are outside home, masks help a lot. Patients having severe and recurrent issues can be treated with medications, nasal sprays and microsurgery if required.

(The author is Sr. consultant (Dept. of ENT), Diyos hospital. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult experts and medical professionals before starting any therapy or medication. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

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