Sinusitis Risk Factors

Chronic sinusitis has risk factors that are similar to those seen with acute sinusitis. The biggest risk factor for acute bacterial sinusitis is an upper respiratory infection (such as a cold) that is caused by a virus. Allergies, ear infections, and swollen adenoids also put you at risk. People who smoke or have had previous sinus surgery are more likely to get chronic sinusitis.

Risk Factors for Acute Sinusitis

The biggest single risk factor for acute bacterial sinusitis is a viral upper respiratory infection (URI), such as the common cold. In up to 2 percent of adults and 13 percent of children, a bacterial sinus infection complicates a viral URI. In children, this risk is increased in those that attend daycare.
Other factors that increase the risk for an acute sinus infection include:
  • Allergies (both seasonal and year-round allergies)
  • Obstruction of the nose from such things as a polyp, swollen adenoids, or deviated septum
  • Infection of the ear or throat
  • Irritants such as dry air or tobacco smoke
  • Swimming (chlorine is also an irritant)
  • Damage to the system inside the nose that gets rid of harmful substances, such as in people with cystic fibrosis or primary ciliary dyskinesia
  • Cocaine use
  • A weakened immune system, such as in people with:
    • HIV or AIDS
    • Diabetes
    • Low blood counts because of chemotherapy
    • An organ transplant
  • Sudden changes in pressure (such as a descent in an airplane)
  • Other factors that decrease sinus drainage.

Chronic Sinusitis Risk Factors

Although researchers do not know the exact cause of chronic sinusitis, they do know that certain things increase its likelihood. Some of these are similar to those risk factors for acute sinusitis, including:
  • Allergies (sinusitis is more common in people with perennial or year-round allergies)
  • A weakened immune system
  • Damage to the system inside the nose that gets rid of harmful substances.
Other risk factors for chronic sinusitis include:
People with previous sinus surgeries or who smoke are also at increased risk for developing chronic sinusitis.
5 Tips to Keep a Cold at Bay

Sinusitis (Sinus Infection) Information

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