Three Useful Tips for Avoiding Sinusitis this Winter

Woman Blowing Her Nose in Winter Clothing

Sinusitis flare-ups are common in the winter due to a variety of factors, including changes in barometric pressure; increased exposure to allergens like dust and dander; dry air caused by furnaces, heaters and fireplaces; and cold and flu season. The good news? There are some things you can do to avoid sinusitis and stay healthy. Read on for a roundup of three tips aimed at preventing sinus infections and other sinus problems this winter.

1. Manage your allergies

Allergies are a leading cause of sinus pain in all weather. While spring and fall may be worse for some people due to high pollen counts, cold weather also comes with its fair share of allergens, including dust and danger, which can accumulate more quickly in cold weather when pets and people spend more time indoors and under blankets.

To avoid triggering your winter allergies, vacuum often and keep all bedding and blankets dry and dust-free. It can also help to set up a “pet-free zone” to keep dander at a minimum. Additionally, opening windows and doors — as the weather allows — lets air circulate, while HEPA filters can be used to remove tiny particles from the air. Over-the-counter remedies and corticosteroid nasal sprays can also be used to help relieve pain and prevent symptoms.

2. Lubricate dry sinuses

Between harsh winter air, the drying effect of furnaces and other sources of heat, and seasonal allergies, sinuses can become very dry and irritated during cold weather. This can lead to painful and debilitating sinus symptoms including stuffiness, congestion and infection.

There are several ways to offset the season’s lack of moisture, starting with paying attention to humidity levels in your home. If the air is consistently dry, a humidifier can work wonders. Additionally, while medications like antihistamines can relieve symptoms, they can also have a drying effect. If your OTC allergy medicine is making your sinuses dry, talk doctor about switching to a medication with fewer side effects. Nasal sprays, neti pots, and steamy showers are also effective at hydrating and lubricating your sinuses and nasal passages. You can also make your own nasal irrigation solution, which Harvard Health declares to be the “first line of defense against sinusitis.” Another simple way to keep sinuses hydrated? Drink lots of water.

3. Practice healthy habits

The healthier you are, the better your body is able to ward off colds and infections. The winter season can be a busy one; committing to healthy habits is an invaluable preventative measure.

For starters, getting an annual flu shot can also help you avoid flu-related complications, including sinus infections, according to the CDC. A well-balanced diet, regular exercise and plenty of sleep are all essential to keeping your immune system in optimal shape. If you smoke, meanwhile, kicking the habit can make all the difference. Lastly, don’t forget that viruses can linger longer on surfaces during cold weather to make sure to wash your hands frequently.

While these three strategies can help you reduce your risk of getting sinusitis, they’re not foolproof — especially if you’re living with chronic sinusitis.  If you’re suffering from severe and/or ongoing symptoms in the San Antonio, Texas area, book an appointment with American Sinus Institute today to learn about your sinusitis treatment and management options.


Sinusitis: What To Do If Antibiotics Don’t Work

Image of Various Tablets and Pills

Many people turn to antibiotics hoping for relief from their sinusitis symptoms. Unfortunately, this is a misguided pursuit by many of them: Research published in The Journal of Family Practice concludes that antibiotics are ineffective at treating sinusitis — even in extreme cases where symptoms are severe. Which begs the question: If antibiotics don’t work for your sinus problems, what can you do to ease your pain? Here’s a closer look.


Nearly 30 million Americans are diagnosed with inflamed nasal passages and sinuses, AKA sinusitis, every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s one out of seven adults! Sinus infection symptoms are uncomfortable, painful and debilitating. They include sinus pressure behind the eyes and cheeks; a runny, stuffy nose; headache; fever; cough; bad breath; thick yellow or green mucus; fatigue; and decreased sense of smell.

And while antibiotics are a common course of treatment, a growing body of evidence suggests that they do no more good than a placebo in terms of improving sinusitis. Not only that, but adverse events related to antibiotic use and escalating rates of drug resistance are also on the list of reasons to avoid antibiotics.

Instead, doctors recommend using a number of methods to accelerate the sinusitis recovery process, including drinking plenty of water; eating healthy, immune-boosting foods; keeping sinuses hydrated with tools like humidifiers, saline nasal sprays, and steam treatments; using warm compresses around the nose, cheeks, and eyes; and taking over-the-counter medications like aspirin and antihistamines.


While sinus problems will sometimes resolve on their own or with help from the treatment methods above, chronic sinusitis can last for months. If your symptoms last for more than 10 days or if they recur several times, you’re not without hope, however. Scheduling a consultation with an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist can help you understand your options.

One especially promising sinusitis treatment that has revolutionized sinus care? The Honrubia Technique for Balloon Sinuplasty. This minimally invasive technique involves minimal tissue removal with minimal pain thanks to the use of intravenous anesthesia for the patient’s comfort and safety. Not only does this in-office procedure take an average of just 20 minutes, but it also boasts quicker recovery times than conventional sinus surgery. In fact, most patients return to their normal activities within two days.

Since balloon sinuplasty surgery emerged as a sinus treatment, hundreds of thousands of patients have undergone the procedure with a staggering 95 percent of them reporting that it gave them the relief they needed and they’d choose it again in the future.

If you’ve been living with sinus problems there’s no reason to continue to suffer — especially if you’ve had bad luck with antibiotic treatments in the past. If live in the San Antonio, Texas are and you’re wondering whether you’re a candidate for balloon sinuplasty or are interested in learning more about the benefits of balloon sinuplasty, contact us today to book your consultation with the American Sinus Institute.

The Effect Smoking Has On Your Sinuses

Person smoking cigarette

Most people are aware by now that smoking is bad for their health. In damaging the airways and the lungs, smoking causes coughs, colds, wheezing and asthma as well as more severe issues like pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer. Smoking also harms nearly every other organ of the body and is linked with heightened risk for everything from certain eye diseases to immune system problems to erectile dysfunction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One lesser-known effect of smoking? Its impact on the sinuses. Here’s a closer look at how smoking damages the sinuses, along with what you can do to start breathing better if you’re a smoker afflicted by sinusitis.

Smoking and the Sinuses

According to a study conducted by the Sinus Center at Mass. Eye and Ear, smoking wreaks having on the sinuses in several ways. For starters, the chemicals found in cigarettes are toxic to the cilia of your nasal passages. These hair-like cells which line the sinuses defend against infection by trapping and expelling foreign passages. In impairing the movement of cilia, smoking leads to a buildup of mucus and the potential for blocked nasal passages. The resulting inflammation can also cause facial pain, headaches and even dental pain.

Furthermore, while cilia are usually able to clear passages effectively when exposed to moderate irritants, the high volume of smoke impairs their ability to perform. This means pathogens like bacteria and viruses have easier access to the body. The result? A weakened immune system and increase the risk of sinus infections. Wondering why you get sick so often? Smoking may be the cause.

Lastly, in immobilizing the nasal cilia, smoking leads to congestion. Not only is this annoying during the daytime, but it can also cause difficulty sleeping at night due to coughing caused by mucus buildup. According to a study published in the journal Sleep and Breathing, smokers also have higher rates of obstructive sleep apnea than non-smokers due to the restricted airflow.

Think you can avoid these issues by using e-cigarettes? Think again. While scientists are still determining the extent to which vaping is bad for your health, mounting research points to dangers ranging from “vape lung” to increased allergy sensitivity, nasal congestion, and sinus infections.

Managing Sinus Issues

If you are a smoker, add sinus issues to the list of reasons why quitting — both cigarettes and e-cigarettes — will improve both your health and your overall quality of life. Says Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat, who headed up the Mass. Eye and Ear study, “If patients tell me that they are smoking, I now have direct evidence to say that the same symptoms that are making them miserable are exacerbated further by smoking.”

On that front, there’s both good and bad news. First, the good: If you are a smoker with chronic sinus disease, you can expect to see your symptoms improve after you kick the habit. The not-so-good news? Data further shows that it takes 10 full years for the harmful effects of smoking on the sinuses to completely reverse.

This doesn’t mean you have a decade of suffering ahead of you, however. Today’s ENT specialists have more tools than ever to help manage sinusitis, including cutting-edge, minimally invasive balloon sinuplasty. If you live in the San Antonio, Texas area and are ready to take a giant step toward eliminating your sinus symptoms and breathing better, book your consultation with the American Sinus Institute today.

Should You Make an Appointment with an ENT?

ENT examining patient's ears

You may know someone who has been referred to an ENT for sinus problems, a chronic sore throat, or an ear infection. Or perhaps you’ve been struggling with these issues and been referred to one yourself. If so, you may be wondering what an ENT is and whether a consultation is in order. Here’s a closer look at what ENTs do and how they can help you breathe better.

What Is an ENT?

“ENT” stands for “ear, nose and throat,” which refers to the specific parts of the body treated by these doctors more formally known as otolaryngologists.

Says the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery of these specialists, “Otolaryngologists are physicians trained in the medical and surgical management and treatment of patients with diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck…Their special skills include diagnosing and managing diseases of the sinuses, larynx (voice box), oral cavity, and upper pharynx (mouth and throat), as well as structures of the neck and face.”

In addition to addressing many primary care problems in adult and pediatric patients, ENTs also diagnose, treat and manage disorders specific to the field, including chronic sinusitis. Otolaryngology is also the country’s oldest medical specialty.

ENTs are well-trained to do what they do. In addition to completing up to 15 years of college, medical school, and specialty training, they must also pass the American Board of Otolaryngology exam. Many also pursue fellowships in order to acquire more extensive training in subspecialty areas like allergies, rhinology (nose), and laryngology (throat).

Should You See an ENT?

Because ENTs cover so much territory, there are many possible reasons to see one. Some of the most common conditions that are treated by otolaryngologists include ear, nose and throat injuries; never problems in the ear, nose or throat; balance problems; dizziness; hearing impairment; ear infection; tonsil or adenoid infection; swimmer’s ear; ear, nose or throat pain; tinnitus; earn, nose or throat birth defects; Down’s syndrome; growth or tumors in the ears, nose or throat; cleft palate; nose bleeds; voice or swallowing problems; hoarseness; sore throat; and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

One of the most common health issues that spur patients to see an ENT? Sinus issues, which can include pain, snoring, sore throat, runny nose, cough, breathing problems, asthma, and allergies. In fact, more than 30 million adults in the US — 12.5 percent of the population — are living with diagnosed sinusitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Countless others may be suffering in silence. For these people, a visit to an ENT can be an invaluable lifeline to a more comfortable and pain-free life.

Not sure whether you have a health problem or condition that merits an appointment with an ENT specialist? Ask your primary care doctor.

It’s also important to remember that even if you saw an ENT in the past, new developments in the field, such as cutting-edge balloon sinuplasty, are supporting optimal outcomes for patients. To talk to an ENT specialist about treatments for chronic sinusitis and other sinus issues, book an appointment with leading San Antonio, Texas area otolaryngologists at the American Sinus Institute today.

Why Your Sinus Infection Gets Worse At Night and What You Can Do About It

Person sick with sinus infection taking their medicine at night

If you suffer from sinus pain and congestion, you may find that your symptoms worsen at night. This can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep, which in turn can detrimentally impact both overall wellness and quality of life. Here’s a closer look at why sinus infections often flare up in the evening hours, along with tips for addressing the problem.

Your Sinuses and Sleep

A sinus infection, AKA sinusitis, occurs when the tissue lining the sinuses becomes inflamed. Unlike healthy sinuses which are filled with air, infected sinuses are unable to clear and may become blocked. They then become a breeding ground for germs, often resulting in uncomfortable and painful sinus infections. Several conditions are linked with sinus blockage, including the common cold, allergies, nasal polyps and deviated septa.

Millions of Americans suffer from sinusitis with symptoms including facial pain or pressure, a runny or “stuffed up” nose, loss of smell, cough, and congestion. Other symptoms may include fever, bad breath, fatigue and dental pain.

While sinusitis is never pleasant, its symptoms can be worse at night for several reasons. For starters, allergies tend to be worse at night in general. And then there’s the fact that when you lie down, fluids no longer drain as they do when you’re standing or sitting. This can result in increased discomfort.

Manage Your Sinusitis to Sleep Better

The good news? There are some things you can do to alleviate sinus congestion and sleep better, including the following:

  • Taking an antihistamine in bed can help control allergy symptoms, like sneezing and runny nose. Antihistamines can also make you drowsy further helping you to fall asleep. If you use a nasal spray to manage your allergy symptoms during the daytime, it can also be used at night.
  • If your sinusitis is caused by allergens, reducing your exposure can reduce your symptoms. Keep your sleeping space free of all allergens by making it a pet-free zone. Additionally, consider investing in dust-proof bedding to further minimize your exposure to allergens.
  • Congestion occurs when your nasal passages don’t clear. “Mucus pools in your sinuses at night when your head is down, so have your head propped up during sleep,” advise the experts at Harvard Medical School.
  • Not only is it a myth that a nightcap before bed can make you sleepy, but alcohol is also linked with increased congestion. Plus, it can cause dehydration, another factor which can aggravate sinus issues. Refraining from drinking alcohol before bed eliminates both of these issues. The same applies for caffeine, which is a stimulant. The takeaway? Stick with water and decaffeinated beverages in the hours leading up to bedtime.
  • Adopting best practices for sleep hygiene is advisable for everyone, but can be especially helpful for people suffering from sinusitis. Keeping your bedroom cool and dark; maintaining regular sleeping and waking times; reserving your bedroom only for sleep-related activities; and avoiding stressful activities before bed can all support better sleep.

Additionally, several other strategies can help keep sinusitis at bay — day or night.

Despite your best efforts, sinus pain and congestion caused by sinusitis may continue to disrupt your sleep. In this case, it may require more aggressive treatment, such as cutting-edge, minimally invasive balloon sinuplasty. To learn more about your options, schedule an appointment with one of the American Sinus Institute’s Board Certified otolaryngologists today.

How the Summer Heat Affects Your Allergies

woman suffering with summer allergies during a run

The average temperatures in San Antonio during the summer hover in the sweltering mid-90s. Hot weather affects the body in many ways beyond merely causing us to sweat. It can also lead to increased symptoms for people with allergies. Here’s a closer look at how summer heat compromises your breathing, along with what you can do about it.

Heat, Humidity and Breathing

The weather may be a common small talk topic. However, as anyone who’s ever been through a tornado, hurricane, or other extreme weather event knows, weather can be a really big deal. But even when the sun is shining on a “perfect” summer day, the weather can still wreak havoc on our health and wellness — especially if you have allergies or asthma and the inflamed airways that go along with them.

Explains the American Lung Association, “Because people with asthma already have inflamed airways, weather is more likely to have an impact, as breathing in hot, humid air induces airway constriction in asthmatics. Air pollution can also be a factor impacting summer breathing in those with lung disease, as increased ozone from smog is often seen in the summer months.”

Meanwhile, repeated exposure to seasonal allergies like pollen can lead to the development of allergic rhinitis, AKA “hay fever,” and allergic sinusitis, in which the nose becomes blocked leading to the blockage of sinuses. Allergic sinusitis shares similar symptoms with nonallergic sinusitis, including nasal congestion; itchy eyes, nose and throat; headache pain, tenderness, swelling and pressure around the face; increased irritability, trouble to focus and fatigue; sleep problems; and a reduced sense of smell and taste, according to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Taking Control of Your Health

The good news? There are some things you can do to minimize the impact of summer heat on your health — starting with avoiding known triggers. Recommends the Mayo Clinic, “Even if you’re treating your allergy symptoms, try to avoid triggers. If, for instance, you’re allergic to pollen, stay inside with windows and doors closed when pollen is high.” Additionally, air conditioning can reduce exposure to hot, humid air.

Also, keep in mind that some days are worse than others in terms of heat, humidity, and air pollution. By monitoring weather and air quality forecasts, you can limit your time outdoors on especially hot or high air pollution days in order to avoid triggering your nasal allergies.
Lastly, taking your controller medication as prescribed as well as keeping quick-relief medications with you at all times can help you minimize the degree to which changing weather conditions impact you and your breathing.

Despite your best efforts, you may still find your allergy symptoms worsening in the summer. However, you don’t have to continue to suffer with no hope for relief. You may be a candidate for balloon sinuplasty, a minimally invasive alternative to traditional sinus surgery which can safely and effectively reduce uncomfortable and painful allergic sinusitis symptoms. Book your appointment with San Antonio’s American Sinus Institute today to learn how we can help you solve your sinus problems and breath easier this summer.

The Difference Between Traditional Sinus Surgery and Balloon Sinuplasty

traditional sinus surgery and balloon sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty (BSP) has been heralded as a “breakthrough in endoscopic sinus surgery.”  This safe and effective procedure offers relief to people suffering from sinusitis and sinus pain symptoms caused by everything from allergies to infection. Wondering what makes BSP different from traditional sinus surgery? While both share the same goal of reducing inflammation, keeping nasal passages draining, and correcting the underlying issue, they do differ in several key ways.

Here’s a closer look at the differences between traditional sinus surgery and balloon sinuplasty, along with why the latter offers new hope for a better quality of life for people living with chronic sinusitis.

Level of Invasiveness

One of the primary differences between traditional sinus surgery and BSP is level of invasiveness. While traditional sinus surgery requires the removal of bone or tissue from the nose, BSP involves less trauma to the surrounding tissue thanks to the development of less invasive technology which allows ear, nose and throat doctors (ENTs) to open inflamed sinuses via the same method heart surgeons use during balloon angioplasty to open up blocked arteries. During BSP, doctors insert a small, flexible balloon catheter into the affected area, which gently expands the tissue.

Because of its minimal level of invasiveness, BSP can be performed as an in-office procedure and takes an average of just 20 minutes, compared to traditional sinus surgery in a hospital or surgical center.

Furthermore, cutting-edge BSP also has a reduced risk complications, as well as a lower likelihood of scarring and the need for follow-up surgery to correct it.

Lastly, while traditional sinus surgery usually involves packing of the nose following the procedure, BSP’s less invasive nature eliminates the need for this uncomfortable step.

Recovery Time

Not only is BSP is less invasive than conventional sinus surgery, it also involves less pain and a faster recovery timeOne study of in-office balloon dilation reveals that not only is the procedure “tolerable or highly tolerable” to more than 82 percent of patients, but most patients return to normal activity within 48 hours.  No further care is required following BSP, and the results are long-lasting. Meanwhile, recovery from traditional sinus surgery can take anywhere from a few days to multiple weeks.

There’s a reason why more than 535,000 people suffering from chronic sinusitis have chosen BSP with great success. In fact, the vast majority of them report significant improvements in symptoms two years after the procedure. And while both conventional sinus surgery and BSP may have to be repeated if symptoms recur in the future, BSP’s convenience makes it a more preferable option.

If you’re living with the pressure, pain, congestion, coughing, and fatigue of chronic sinusitis in the San Antonio, Texas area, there’s no need to continue to suffer. Nor is there a need for painful, invasive surgery with the potential for a prolonged recovery time and complications. Instead, consider balloon sinuplasty. To learn more about BSP and whether you’re a candidate for this life-changing treatmentbook an appointment with the American Sinus Institute today.

How Chronic Sinusitis Affects Your Health and Wellness

insomnia caused by chronic sinusitis

insomnia caused by chronic sinusitis

Approximately 37 million Americans suffer from sinusitis. And while its symptoms are often perceived as merely annoying, the reality is that chronic sinusitis — sinusitis which continues beyond a few weeks — can have a serious impact on your quality of life, according to the results of a recent Qualtrics survey. Here’s a closer look at how chronic sinusitis detrimentally affects the health and wellbeing of afflicted individuals.

Debilitating Pain

Anyone who has experienced sinus problems knows that the pain can be debilitating. However, few people realize the extent to which living with chronic sinusitis is hurting them.

Also known as chronic rhinosinusitis, chronic sinusitis occurs when the cavities surrounding the sinuses become swollen and inflamed. Common sinus infection symptoms may include nasal congestion and difficulty breathing through the nose; thick, discolored discharge from the nose or down the back of the throat; facial pain, tenderness and swelling; and reduced sense of smell and taste. Additional signs and symptoms of this condition may include ear pain, aching in the upper jaw and teeth; a cough that may worsen at night; sore throat; bad breath; fatigue or irritability; and nausea.

Together and over an extended period of time, these symptoms are anything but trivial. In fact, they play out in a number of different ways — each with the potential to detract from your physical, mental, emotional and financial wellbeing.

Ongoing Impacts

Sleep is critical to human health, and is one of the major health issues posed by sinusitis. For starters, many people with chronic sinusitis struggle with falling asleep because of everything from runny sinuses to pain. Furthermore, untreated chronic sinusitis can increase your risk of sleep apnea, according to research published in Rhinology. In fact, sleep apnea was diagnosed in 64.7 percent of the chronic sinusitis patients who participated in the study. Many of them also reported daytime sleepiness, which is associated with increased risk of motor vehicle and work-related incidents. People with daytime sleepiness also have poorer overall health than their peers.

In addition to sleep disorders, researchers have also determined there to be a link between chronic sinusitis and other “comorbid systemic ailments,” including depression, anxiety, diabetes, and cognitive dysfunction.

Chronic sinusitis may also be interfering with your hobbies and personal relationships — both of which are essential to wellness. According to Qualtrics, 35 percent, 18 percent, and 36 percent, respectively, of people with chronic sinusitis report that their leisure activities, personal relationships, and sex lives have suffered.

The Qualtrics survey also revealed that 33 percent of sinusitis sufferers spend up to $1,000 annually on over-the-counter treatments, doctor consults, and co-pays to treat recurring symptoms. Meanwhile, a full 34 percent of people with sinusitis said their work performance had been “significantly impacted” due to frequent missed days. While these issues may not directly impact your health, managing them can mean more stress — and its own dangerous effects — for people with chronic sinusitis.

Taking Control of Your Health

“This survey confirms our understanding that hundreds of thousands of Americans who suffer from chronic sinusitis each year fail to get relief of their symptoms even after several attempts at medical therapy,” says Brian Farley, CEO of medical technology company Entellus Medical, of the findings.

“Fortunately, today balloon dilation of the blocked sinus drainage passages is available to these patients as a fast and effective procedure that can be performed in the ENT physician’s office. Balloon sinus dilation is the only therapy proven to be as effective as traditional sinus surgery while allowing faster recovery. By enabling treatment in the doctor’s office, the approach requires less cost to the patient and the healthcare system,” Farley continues.

If you live in the San Antonio, Texas area and you’re ready to say goodbye to chronic sinusitis and its symptoms once and for all, balloon sinuplasty may be the answer to reclaiming your quality of life. Book your appointment at the American Sinus Institute today to take your first step toward breathing easier.

Six Tips to Avoid Sinus Infections

Person with sinus infection being taken cared of by his girlfriend

Sinus infections, AKA sinusitis, aren’t just painful. If left untreated, they can spread to the brain and its surrounding tissue putting you at risk for seizures, brain damage, and even death. We’ve got good news, however: There are some things you can do to promote sinus health. Read on for a roundup of six tips aimed at helping you avoid sinus infections, stay healthy, and feel your best.

Wash your hands frequently.

Viral respiratory infections, including the flu and the common cold, often lead to sinus infections. Frequent hand washing eliminates germs thereby minimizing the accumulation of infection-causing microbes in the nasal cavity and sinuses. Experts also recommend the flu vaccine as an invaluable initial line of defense against the germs that lead to sinus infections.

Keep nasal passages clear and moist.

The cilia inside the nose do their job best in a moist environment. Enter nasal irrigation. “One of the simplest, cheapest, and most effective ways to prevent and treat sinus problems is nasal irrigation. Using a homemade solution, you can often relieve sinusitis symptoms, reduce reliance on nasal sprays and antibiotics, and improve your quality of life,” proposes Harvard Health Publishing.

For best results, incorporate this practice into your daily hygiene routine. One mantra to remember? “Brush, then flush.”

Other tactics for keeping your nasal passages in good shape? Use saline sprays, drink plenty of water, inhale steam, sleep with your head elevated, blow your nose gently, and use a humidifier or vaporizer.

Avoid irritants.

Certain chemicals, such as perfume, cigarette smoke and pollution, can irritate nasal passages and lead to sinus problems. Limit exposure to these irritants to alleviate symptoms.

Manage your allergies.

Sinusitis can be triggered by allergies. Therefore, it’s important to manage your allergies in order to prevent sinus infections. However, it’s also true that antihistamines can make mucus harder to drain. Depending on your situation, your doctor may or may not recommend antihistamines or other medications to keep your allergies in check.

On a related note, use caution with decongestants. While these can help by shrinking membranes and opening nasal passages in the short-term, they can also lead to dependency. Plus, when the meds wear off, swelling may not only return, but may also worsen.

Consider oral probiotics.

Oral probiotics can help replenish and balance the sinuses’ natural biome. Avoid antibiotics and steroids, however, as these can detrimentally impact the body’s good, natural bacteria while allowing bad bacteria to thrive, according to Baylor College of Medicine associate professor Dr. Mas Yakashima.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The healthier you are, the healthier your sinuses will be. Practice healthy lifestyle habits –such as eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep — to bolster your immune system and keep sinus infections at bay.

One last thing to keep in mind? While these six tips may help prevent acute sinusitis, persistent nasal congestion and recurring sinus problems may indicate the presence of chronic sinusitis and the need for medical intervention, such as balloon sinuplasty. To learn more about how balloon sinuplasty can help you breathe better, book an appointment at San Antonio, Texas’s American Sinus Institute today.

Understanding the Cost of Balloon Sinuplasty

cost of balloon sinuplasty

Balloon sinuplasty has been heralded for revolutionizing sinus surgery since it was introduced more than a decade ago. Wondering what’s involved with balloon sinuplasty surgery and — perhaps more importantly — whether you can afford it? Here’s a closer look at this cutting edge procedure and what you can expect to pay for it.

About Balloon Sinuplasty

While acute sinusitis can usually be treated by primary care physicians, people with chronic sinusitis are often referred to otolaryngologists, AKA an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors. These specialists conduct more thorough exams aimed at determining how best to reduce the inflammation, drain the nasal passages, and identify and correct the underlying cause of the problem, such as allergies. When more conservative treatments don’t work, sinus surgery is often recommended.

The good news? While conventional sinus surgery uses an external incision that may lead to scarring, minimally-invasive balloon sinuplasty involves no removal of bones or tissue but is equally effective. In fact, according to a long-term analysis of balloon sinuplasty published in the academic journal, Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, patients show “significant improvements” years after undergoing the procedure. Balloon sinuplasty surgery also boasts faster recovery times and without the complications associated with traditional surgery. (There’s a reason why its nickname is the “smart sinus” procedure.)

Wondering whether you’re a candidate for balloon sinuplasty? The American Sinus Institute’s Sinus Symptom Checker can help you make sense of your symptoms.

Balloon Sinuplasty Cost

Since it was cleared by the FDA in 2005, balloon sinuplasty has been performed on more than 150,000 patients — a number that’s growing by the day. Given its proven efficacy and positive outcomes, it’s hardly a surprise that so many people in the San Antonio, Texas region and all over the world are turning to this breakthrough procedure for relief from chronic sinusitis and its symptoms.

Balloon sinuplasty is not just preferable to traditional sinus surgery because it’s both safe and effective, it can also be more affordable. As an outpatient procedure, when balloon sinuplasty is performed in the doctor’s office under local or general anesthesia, you can expect to pay less than you would for sinus surgery performed in an operating room. You’ll also have less downtime following the surgery so you can return more quickly to your everyday life.

Plus, not only does Medicare’s sinus surgery insurance coverage include balloon sinuplasty, but many insurance carriers cover it, as well — especially given that the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery stands behind its use and released a statement which “strongly encourages” all insurance carriers to cover it.

One last thing to keep in mind if you’re considering balloon sinuplasty surgery? In addition to being an investment in your sinus health, it’s also an investment in your overall wellness and quality of life. If you live in the San Antonio, Texas area and you’re ready to stop living with sinus pain and to start breathing freer, book an appointment today with the American Sinus Institute.

Myths About Your Sinuses

Woman suffering with sinus problems on the sofa

Thousands of people in the San Antonio area suffer from sinus problems. These can take a huge toll — especially without prompt and proper treatment. If you have trouble breathing through your nose and think it’s something you just have to live with, think again. Understanding these five common misconceptions about sinuses can help you seek the treatment you need to breathe easier and feel better.

1. A runny nose is the primary symptom of sinus problems.

While a runny nose” is one of the most well-known symptoms of sinus problems, it’s far from alone. Other main signs of sinusitis include facial pain or pressure, loss of smell, and cough or congestion. Fever, bad breath, fatigue, and dental pain are less common symptoms of sinus problems.

Because many health issues can cause these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor to determine if sinusitis or another issue is to blame.

2. All sinus symptoms indicate sinus infections.

Many sinus symptoms indicate sinus infections, AKA acute sinusitis. This inflammation of the cavities around your sinuses can be caused by several types of infections, including upper respiratory infections, bacteria, and even the common cold.

However, when this inflammation lasts for longer than three months, lingering sinus symptoms — or symptoms which recur multiple times throughout the year — may indicate chronic sinusitis. This is usually caused by another culprit, such as asthma, allergies or nasal polyps, and mandates a visit with an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor). Approximately 12.5 percent of the US population has been diagnosed with sinusitis, according to the CDC.

3. Surgery is the sole treatment for sinus problems.

There are many different treatments for sinus problems. In some cases, rest, hydration, decongestants, OTC pain medication, nasal sprays, and antibiotics are effective treatments for acute sinusitis. In other cases, allergy treatments, steroids, and alternative therapies can offer relief.

The type of treatment depends on the symptoms and their degree of severity. Your doctor will recommend the best treatment for your particular situation.

4. Chronic sinusitis surgery is invasive and requires extensive healing time.

Approximately 500,000 chronic sinusitis surgeries are performed in the United States every year, according to Knowable Magazine. And while patients seeking lasting relief from painful sinusitis had only one surgical option in the past, today’s patients have more choices, including innovative balloon sinuplasty. (On that note, sinuplasty and rhinoplasty, AKA a “nose job,” are not the same thing.)

One particularly revolutionary type of balloon sinuplasty? The Honrubia Technique, created by Dr. Vincent F. Honrubia of San Antonio’s American Sinus Institute. Involving less pain and minimal tissue removal, this procedure is more comfortable because it’s performed under anesthesia. The Honrubia Technique also supports a quicker recovery than traditional sinus surgery, and patients are spared unpleasant surgical side effects, such as swelling, black eyes, facial bruising, and a gauze-packed nose.

5. Sinus symptoms will eventually go away on their own.

While some sinus symptoms will resolve on their own, this means living with unnecessary pain and discomfort until they do. In rare cases, dangerous complications can result from untreated sinusitis, such as meningitis, bone infections, and brain abscesses. As such, seeing a doctor for sinusitis symptoms is imperative.

One last thing to keep in mind about sinus surgery? While it doesn’t mean you’ll never get sick again, it does mean your sinuses will drain more easily if you do. The result? Fewer, less severe symptoms in a shorter duration.

The key to optimizing your sinus health — and overall quality of life — ultimately relies on understanding your symptoms and the available treatment options. Book an appointment with the American Sinus Institute today to take a big step toward breathing easier.

Common Symptoms of Sinus Infections

learn the common symptoms of sinus infections

learn the common symptoms of sinus infections

When you wake up with sniffling, sneezing and other respiratory symptoms, it can be difficult to pin down the cause. Is this an allergy symptom, or is it caused by a cold? Or, could it be a sinus infection causing your problems? Knowing why you are dealing with these symptoms can help you find the right remedy, whether you need allergy medicine, pain relief or antibiotics. A few of the symptoms that can indicate a sinus infection:

Pain and Pressure

There are sinus cavities behind your nose, above your top teeth and behind your forehead. During a sinus infection, these areas are prone to inflammation. You can experience pain and pressure in any of your sinuses when you are dealing with sinusitis. A sinusitis headache is characterized by pain and pressure in the face and forehead. You may also see swelling or redness in the area.


When the tissue inside your sinuses becomes irritated and inflamed, it is harder for fluids to pass through the sinus passages. Congestion is the result. You may feel it as a heaviness in your head or as an inability to breathe freely through one or both nostrils.

Post Nasal Drip

Sometimes, your body will create extra mucus in order to wash away viruses or bacteria that are responsible for a sinus infection. However, when you are congested, you will often find that this contributes to post nasal drip.


If you have a cough, that’s a sure sign the problem is a cold or flu, right? Not necessarily. The post nasal drip associated with a sinus infection can irritate the delicate tissue in your throat, leading to a cough or a sore throat.

What to do about a sinus infection

A sinus infection can pass on its own within a few days. Staying hydrated and taking decongestants or allergy medicine can help ease symptoms. You may also get relief from congestion by using nasal irrigation tools like neti pots.

However, if you suffer from sinus infections frequently, you may be suffering from chronic sinusitis. Sinusitis symptoms that last for four weeks or more are considered chronic. In some cases, these are caused by narrow or blocked passages in your sinuses. In cases when there are problems like these, fluids are less able to flow freely, contributing to breathing problems and more frequent sinus infections.

Medications can help reduce symptoms, they cannot offer a cure for sinus problems. However, many patients have experienced a reduction in sinus problems or complete relief after getting balloon sinuplasty. Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that helps open up sinus passages so you can breathe more freely. Most people experience relief right away and find that they are able to avoid frequent medication and life without sinusitis symptoms.

Do you suffer from frequent sinus infections? We can help. Contact us today, we can help find the root cause behind your sinus infections and create a plan of care to get you relief.

What Causes Respiratory Allergies?

what causes respiratory allergies

Have you ever noticed, when you cough or sneeze, most people’s first assumption is that you have a cold? If you are like most allergy sufferers, you’ve frequently had to explain that, no, a cold or flu is not the cause of your symptoms. What causes respiratory allergies in the first place?

Why Do Some People Have Nasal Allergies?

Our immune systems detect and protect us against invaders like bacteria and viruses. However, for reasons we do not understand, some people’s immune systems react to otherwise harmless triggers such as dander, dust and pollen. When this happens, your body goes into many of the same defensive actions that it would when you were suffering from a cold or bacterial infection. The symptoms that you suffer are part of your body’s defense.

What Are Some Common Respiratory Allergy Symptoms?

According to researchers, around 8.2 percent of adults in the US suffer from hay fever or other nasal allergies. If you suspect you have allergies, you can find out by getting an allergy test. You may have allergies if you suffer regularly from allergy symptoms.

Signs of respiratory allergies include:

  • sneezing
  • watery or itchy eyes
  • congestion
  • cough or sore throat
  • runny nose

What Should You Do if You Have Allergies?

If you and your doctor determine nasal allergies are causing your symptoms, you have several options for allergy treatment. Many people find they are able to control symptoms effectively with the use of allergy medicine. Modern antihistamines can block histamine production without making you feel sleepy or groggy like antihistamines from the past. There are a number of antihistamines available over the counter or with a prescription.

Other people find their allergy symptoms are best managed with nasal steroids. These steroids are available in the form of nasal sprays that apply the steroids directly to the affected sinus tissue.These are essentially a topical medication, they are less likely to cause side effects than other steroid medications.

Many other people find they prefer longer lasting treatment for their respiratory allergies. Over time, they may find allergy medicines do not work for them as well as they did in the past. In some cases, people prefer to seek out long lasting treatment so that they are not reliant on daily medication.

Allergy shots are an option for people who have frequent or severe nasal allergies. Administered over a sustained period of time, allergy shots can reduce your sensitivity to allergens and reduce your need for allergy medicine. In many cases, people are able to fully stop taking antihistamines.

If you often get a sinus infection during allergy season, you may also have issues with your sinuses. Some people have sinus blockages that can make allergy-related symptoms worse. Treatments like balloon sinuplasty can help open passages to give you relief.

Are seasonal allergies causing you grief? Our team at American Sinus Institute can help identify what causes your allergy reactions and create a plan of care to help you breathe better. Get in touch today and book an appointment.

Three Ways to Control Allergies

couple dealing with ways to control allergies

Do fall allergies seem to interfere with your life every year? If so, you are not alone. As many as 50 million people in the US alone suffer from some sort of nasal allergies every year. Allergies are the country’s sixth leading causing of chronic illness. Luckily, modern science offers a wide range of ways to control allergies and allow you to feel better. Treatments fall into a few different categories:

Non-medical Remedies

If you prefer to avoid medications, you have a few options you can try first to treat your allergy symptoms. The most effective of these is finding your allergy triggers and avoiding them. For instance, if you are allergic to pollen, staying inside on high pollen count days can help you avoid allergy reactions. Many people are also able to help reduce exposure to allergens by changing their clothes as soon as they come home and by using HEPA filters on their home’s air conditioners and vacuums. Neti pots and other nasal irrigation tools can help with allergy symptoms, as well. First, these can help wash allergens out of your sinuses, reducing your exposure. Second, the saline solution used with these remedies can draw out fluids that cause inflammation. This, in turn, provides relief from congestion and reduces the likelihood of complications like a sinus infection.

Allergy Medicine

There are a number of over the counter and prescription medications that can help control allergy symptoms. Antihistamines can stop allergic reactions from happening, which helps you avoid allergy symptoms. You can also treat allergy symptoms like congestion with the help of decongestants, or treat sinus pain with NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen.

Long-Term Allergy Treatment

Do you suffer from allergy symptoms frequently? Do your allergies often lead to complications like sinus infections? Do you dislike the idea of taking medications on a frequent basis? You may wish to consider long-term options that can both reduce allergy symptoms and cut your reliance on medications.

Allergy shots and drops are a type of immunotherapy that can reduce your sensitivity to various allergens. They work through the application of tiny amounts of your allergy triggers. Over time, your body reacts less strongly to these allergens, or, not at all. While it can take three to five years to find complete relief, many people experience a reduction in allergy symptoms within the first year of treatment.

Sometimes, people’s allergy symptoms are related to problems with their sinuses. Many people have sinus passages that are blocked or too narrow to allow fluids to move smoothly. People with these sorts of issues are more likely to suffer from painful sinus headaches and sinus congestion during allergy season. They are also more likely to develop sinus infections. For these individuals, treatments like balloon sinuplasty can help.

No one treatment option is a good fit for everyone. What works for you will depend on the cause of your allergies, the severity of your symptoms and other factors.

Are seasonal allergies causing you misery? We can help you breathe better. Get in touch today and book an appointment.

Are You Getting Sick Or Is It Just Allergies?

Woman with allergies

Sniffing, sneezing, aches and pains… do you always seem to develop these symptoms around the same time every year? While many people always assume that respiratory symptoms are the sign of a seasonal cold, there’s a chance it is allergy related instead. Many people have allergic reactions to plants that bloom at a certain time of year, for instance. Others may have mold allergies that flare up each year when weather conditions align perfectly for spores to grow. Understanding the source of your respiratory symptoms can help you get the right treatment so that you can breathe better and enjoy better health.

It Might Be a Cold If…

Colds are caused by exposure to viruses. Often, if you are getting sick right around the time others in your school or office are, this can point to the problem being a cold. You may also be suffering from a cold if you have general aches and pains throughout your body. Colds are sometimes accompanied by fevers, as well, while allergy attacks aren’t. A sore throat and a cough can sometimes be suffered by people who have allergies; however, these symptoms are far more common with colds.

Signs That It Might Be Allergies

Allergies are a reaction to irritants in your environment. Pollen, animal dander, mold, and dust are common triggers. If you suffer from respiratory symptoms after exposure to any of these, allergy reactions can be to blame.

Symptoms of allergies typically include sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose with clear fluid. You may also experience fatigue, and a stuffy nose, but these are also common cold symptoms.

If you find your symptoms improve when taking allergy medicine such as antihistamines, there is a good chance your problems are caused by allergies. Antihistamines block the production of histamine in your system, which interrupts the signals that bring on allergy symptoms.

The Best Ways to Deal with Colds and Allergies

The good news about the misery of a cold is that it does not last long. In most cases, you should feel better within 7 to 10 days. While you are still suffering, you can ameliorate symptoms by taking over the counter pain relievers and decongestants. Drink plenty of fluids and get rest while you recover. If a cold progresses into a sinus infection, treatment from your doctor may be needed.

Allergies, however, are an ongoing issue. They will occur each time you are exposed to the allergens that are causing you grief. Thankfully, there are many good allergy treatment options available today. Many people find relief with over the counter antihistamines. However, if you have severe or frequent allergies, it may make sense to seek a longer-term treatment such as allergy shots or allergy drops.

Many people find their allergy or cold symptoms are exacerbated by sinus issues. If you have narrow or blocked sinus passages, a procedure like balloon sinuplasty can help.

Here, at American Sinus Institute, we can diagnose the source of your symptoms and help you find relief. Get in touch today for a consultation.