Can Scented Candles Cause Sinus Problems?

Many people feel like their sinuses become irritated around certain smells, which is often true. However, it is important to understand the difference between sinusitis and common allergies in order to diagnose the root of your sinus problems and begin healing.

 According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 30 million adults in the United States are currently diagnosed with sinusitis. If you have sinusitis, you are no stranger to the symptoms. Irritating pressure behind the eyes and cheeks, a constantly running nose, a cough, and even a fever in many cases. All of these symptoms can lead to extreme discomfort in your life, giving you all the more reason to find the cause of your sinusitis, or sinus infection, and treat it as soon as possible. 

When trying to find a cause for your sinusitis, you may have pointed the finger in many directions— prior respiratory infections, allergic reactions to dust and pollen, the time of year, etc. Although sinusitis can be caused by bacteria and various pollutants and irritants, it is most commonly the result of viruses. Here are some of the differences between sinus infections and allergies, and why scented candles and air fresheners may not necessarily be at the root of a sinus infection. 

Sinusitis Vs. Allergies

While the symptoms of common allergies are often very similar to those of sinusitis and sinus infections, they are not the same thing. In short, sinusitis occurs when your nasal passages become infected. Allergies, on the other hand, are a more common immune system reaction to different allergens floating through the air.

When you experience the symptoms of allergies, such as nasal inflammation and a stuffy nose, your immune system releases a chemical called histamine. Histamines initiate the process that helps clear your body of allergens, but as a result of this, they can make you tear up, itch, or become congested. 

Along with allergens, irritating chemicals that come from plug-in air fresheners, sprays, and scented candles can trigger that histamine response in your body. An article put out by NPR is just one of many examples that explored an individual who sought medical help for her allergies, only to find that the root cause was the plethora of air fresheners and candles that she was using in her home. 

Unlike allergies, sinus infections are typically caused by viruses. If you are hit with a sinus infection, your nasal cavities will become inflamed, which causes mucus to build up and make the infection worse. Sinusitis is typically much more painful than the typical allergy flare-up, particularly in the cheeks and around the eyes. 


Do Scented Candles Cause Sinusitis?

Like many medical questions, the answer to this question is both yes and no. While sinus infections can be caused by irritants and pollutants in the air such as the synthetic smells composed of many different chemicals that rise from a burning candle, sinus infections are much more commonly caused by viruses. 

If you notice that you have become overly congested and itchy around the eyes, examining your home for candles and air fresheners that may have triggered this is a good first step. If you aren’t experiencing thick, dark-colored mucus and prolonged swelling, it is likely that you are experiencing mild allergies, and over the counter medications can quickly fight those symptoms. Alternatives to those scented solutions in your home could include beeswax candles or aromatherapy candles. If your sinus issues prolong, it may be time to seek expert help. 

When To See A Doctor For Sinusitis

If your sinus condition has reached the point where you have had continual congestion and facial pain, fevers, and strange colored nasal discharge, we recommend seeking professional medical help. Dr. Lascelles Pinnock at the Detroit Sinus Center has a long history of treating sinus infections and sinusitis in the Detroit area. Dr. Pinnock and the team at Detroit Sinus Center can let you know whether sinus surgery is the best route of action for you. 

Detroit Sinus Center is proud to accept most insurance types. To view an entire list of our accepted insurances for sinus treatments, click here. We look forward to seeing you soon and doing our part to return you to your normal self!

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