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Why Do I Get Sinus Headaches When the Weather Changes?

Your sinus headache could be caused by changes in the weather or more precisely changes in environmental pressure. Most often, sinus headaches are associated with low pressure weather systems.

Weather CAN be a Factor in Headaches

Your sinuses are an extensive network of tiny tubes leading to the nasal cavity.  These tubes, when your sinuses are healthy, are filled with air and have a clear opening into your nose.

If the opening to these tubes is obstructed and a low pressure system rolls in, there is a pressure differential between the air inside your sinuses and the air in the outside environment.  This pressure differential can result in a sinus headache.

For those of you reading this blog who already have a headache, I’ll cut straight to the chase.  Your best course of treatment is to take an over-the-counter oral decongestant like Sudafed® and use an over-the-counter saline or medicated nasal spray.  The goal is to reopen the sinuses and relieve the pressure differential.

Prevent Future Headaches

If you do not currently have a headache, you can take some precautionary measures to help prevent future pain by regularly using a saline nasal spray or irrigation system.

We, in the ENT community, are big fans of saline washes because they can help keep the sinuses healthy by flushing out the allergens and pathogens that can cause swelling of the nasal passages.  Saline nasal sprays can also thin mucus secretions, lessening the chances of a blocked sinus opening or tube.

If you find that your sinus headaches persist even after taking these steps, you may want to consult a physician as you may be a candidate for prescription medication.

Dr. Michael Ferguson is specialist with WakeMed Physician Practices – Ear, Nose & Throat.  He treats adults and children of all ages for a range of ear nose and throat issues including sinus disease, thyroid problems and cancers of the head and neck.