Nose and Sinus Problems with Asthma

Many people who have asthma also have long-term (chronic) problems of the nose and sinuses. These can include: 

  • Rhinitis. This is inflammation or swelling of the tissues in the nose.

  • Sinusitis. This is inflammation or swelling of the tissues in the sinuses. These are air-filled spaces in the bones of your face.

  • Rhinosinusitis. This is when you have both problems at the same time. You may have rhinitis without sinusitis. But sinusitis often happens only with rhinitis.


These conditions can have many causes. The cause may be a:

  • Virus

  • Bacteria

  • Fungus

  • Allergen

The same allergen can cause nasal and sinus symptoms. And asthma symptoms too. Allergy shots will help you manage asthma and allergic rhinitis symptoms. And you should also stay away from things that trigger your symptoms.


The symptoms of chronic sinusitis, rhinitis, or rhinosinusitis include:

  • Sneezing

  • Runny nose

  • Nasal or sinus congestion

  • Postnasal drip or drainage in the throat

  • Sore throat

  • Nasal itching

  • Headache

  • Pain, soreness, or pressure in the face. This is often behind the cheeks and forehead.

  • Feeling tired

  • Loss of sense of smell

  • Bad breath

  • Pain in the teeth

The symptoms may make your asthma worse. They may also mean you have lung swelling and inflammation.

Talk with your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms. Or talk with an allergy healthcare provider. Or see an ear, nose, and throat care provider. This is an ENT or otolaryngologist. Controlling your symptoms will help you control your asthma. So will staying away from triggers or allergens.


Treatment for any of these 3 conditions may include:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as staying away from known triggers

  • Decongestants

  • Nasal corticosteroid spray

  • Mucus thinner

  • Nasal saline

  • Corticosteroid medicines

  • Antibiotics

Online Medical Reviewer: Dan Brennan MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Deborah Pedersen MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals RN BSN MPH
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2023
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