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How does smoking and pollutants affect your nose, sinuses, and allergies?

Many people know that the long term effects of smoking can result in throat and lung cancer. Many may not realize the way that smoking can cause a greater likelihood of catching colds or suffering from allergies. Smoking has adverse effects on the nose and sinuses as well. Like the lungs, the lining of the nose and sinuses have hair-like structures called cilia. Cilia clean the nose, sinuses and lungs of airborne irritants, bacteria, and mucus. Smoking renders cilia ineffectual which makes a person more susceptible to infections. Having damaged cilia caused by smoking means that the mucus that your nose and sinuses produce do not drain normally to the back of the throat to be swallowed. This back up of mucus in the sinuses creates an environment where bacteria can thrive and lead to an infection.

Second-hand smoke too can lead to problems for friends and family members who are around individuals who smoke. It can lead to snoring, respiratory infections, and even ear infections simply by exposure to smoke.

If the sinusitis doctor determines that you need surgical intervention to treat sinus problems, smoking can limit the success of the operation. A higher likelihood of scar tissue and poor healing can result from smoking both before and after surgery. Your sinusitis doctor will likely ask you to stop smoking before the surgery. Dr. Pasha recommends that you stop smoking two weeks prior to surgery. It may be that the surgical procedure is the milestone you need to quit smoking for the last time.

Finally, the National Health Interview Survey from 1997-2006 concluded that there is a correlation between air quality and the prevalence of sinusitis. For Houston sinusitis patients this is particularly important because the air quality in the city is often compromised due to industry and a large number of vehicles on the roads.