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Can Air-Conditioners Cause Sinus Congestion?

If you have any kind of allergies or sinus problems at all, you probably know a sudden blast of cold air can trigger a sneeze or two, as well as make your nose run. But did you know that not keeping your air conditioner filter clean can also cause allergy symptoms? According to The New York Times, this may be one reason you develop congestion during the summertime.

Springtime is notorious for allergy-producing air, with newly-budding trees and flowering bushes sending spores everywhere. Allergies are your body's reaction to particles that it considers foreign (allergens). The first time your body encounters an allergen, your plasma cells release immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody specific to that allergen.

The second time your body encounters a particular allergen, your mast cells become activated and release histamine, leukotrienes and prostaglandins, which trigger your allergy symptoms. At this time, you might be desperate for any help you can get to feel better.

Most people turn to antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays and allergy shots to address their symptoms. But before you reach for a drug that may have unpleasant side effects, there are other tactics you can employ that can help give you some relief.

As with any health condition, a healthy diet, stress relief and exercise will form the foundation upon which your immune system can function in an optimal manner to best relieve allergy symptoms and lessen reactions. Avoiding triggers such as clothing made of synthetic fibers can also be helpful. Exercising outdoors before dawn or in late afternoon can help you avoid high pollen counts.

Wear gloves and a mask when gardening outside, and to improve indoor air quality, regularly vacuum your home and keep your air conditioner filters clean. You can also try foods, herbs and essential oils that act as natural decongestants, such as hot peppers, quercetin and quercetin-rich foods such as apples, berries, red grapes and black tea, butterbur, eucalyptus oil and green tea.
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