Can Humidity Cause Congestion? Humidity and Sinuses

If the weather is very humid and you are experiencing congestion, you’re probably miserable and wondering if your congestion has anything to do with a connection between humidity and sinuses. Can humidity cause congestion?

Humidity can cause congestion by increasing mucus production, making it difficult to breathe, and may even cause a runny nose. On the other hand, low humidity can dry the nasal passages and thicken the mucus in the sinuses causing a stuffy, hard-to-breath effect. Over-the-counter medication can help.

Can Humidity Cause Congestion?

Imagine you are feeling congested and decide to do some research on the internet to try to understand the relationship between humidity and congestion.

You see that humidity can be helpful in relieving congestion, but you also read articles that indicate that high levels of humidity can worsen congestion. So which is it?

Unlike allergic rhinitis, non-allergic rhinitis can be brought on by sudden changes in temperature and humidity.


The part that seems so puzzling is that low humidity is said to dry out the nasal passages and thicken the mucus in the sinuses, relieving the constant runny nose and turning it into a stuffy nose.

Yet, on the other hand, credible resources are also saying that by increasing humidity, there will be more symptoms of a runny nose, which is supposed to “help” release the built-up congestion.

Can Humidity Cause Congestion?

Humidity can cause congestion, as the moisture in the air can lead to an increase in mucus production. This can make it difficult to breathe and may even cause a runny nose. Humidity can also irritate the throat and lungs, which can aggravate existing respiratory conditions.

Humidity and sinuses play an important role in congestion.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone is equally affected by humidity. Some people may be more sensitive to its effects than others.

If you find that humidity makes your symptoms worse, it’s best to avoid exposure to humid environments as much as possible.

There are also a few things you can do to help reduce your symptoms, such as using a humidifier or taking a shower before bedtime.

By taking these precautions, you can help minimize the effects of humidity on your congestion.

Sinuses and Humidity

The sinuses are a connected system of hollow spaces in the bones of the face. They are located behind the forehead, cheeks, and nose. The sinuses make mucus, which drains out through small openings into the inside of the nose. If these openings become blocked, mucus backs up into the sinuses.

This can cause pressure and pain in the head, as well as fever, cough, and runny nose. An increase in humidity can also lead to an increase in sinus problems.

When the air is too dry, mucus becomes thick and sticky, making it more difficult to drain. As a result, people with sinus problems may find that their symptoms are worse during periods of low humidity.

Further, low humidity also causes itchy, dry skin.

Maintaining a healthy level of humidity in your home can help to minimize sinus problems.

What Is Non-Allergic Rhinitis?

Non-allergic rhinitis is a type of chronic inflammation of the nose that is not caused by allergies. The symptoms are similar to those of allergic rhinitis, such as sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose. Non-allergic rhinitis can be caused by viral infections, such as the common cold; bacterial infections; certain medications; pregnancy; weather changes; and stress.

In some cases, non-allergic rhinitis may also be aggravated by humidity. When the air is moist, it can trigger the production of mucus, which can lead to symptoms such as a runny nose or congestion.

If you suffer from non-allergic rhinitis, try to avoid exposure to humid conditions whenever possible.

Treatment for non-allergic rhinitis typically includes avoiding trigger factors, taking over-the-counter antihistamines, and using nasal corticosteroid sprays.

In some cases, immunotherapy may be recommended. Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment that helps to desensitize the person to the trigger factor.

It is typically used for people with severe symptoms who have not responded to other treatments. Non-allergic rhinitis is fairly common, affecting up to 30% of adults in the United States.

It often begins in childhood or adolescence and can last for many years.

Although non-allergic rhinitis does not usually cause serious health problems, it can lead to sleep problems and fatigue.

Treatment can help to improve symptoms and reduce the impact on quality of life.

What Is Allergic Rhinitis?

Allergic Rhinitis is a condition where a person experiences symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, and an itchy throat due to an allergy. It can be caused by pollen, dust mites, mold, or animal dander. Some people may only have seasonal allergies while others have them all year round.

Allergic rhinitis is not a life-threatening condition but it can be very uncomfortable and disruptive to daily life.

There are many over-the-counter and prescription treatments available to help relieve symptoms.

Avoiding triggers, taking antihistamines, and using nasal sprays can all be effective in managing Allergic Rhinitis.

Is a Humidifier Good for Congestion?

By adding moisture to the air, a humidifier helps to thin the mucus, making it easier to breathe. In addition, the increased humidity can also help to soothe irritated tissues and reduce inflammation. As a result, using a humidifier is often an effective way to relieve congestion.

There are many reasons why someone might suffer from congestion, but the common symptom is an excess of mucus in the nasal passages.

This can be caused by a cold or flu, allergies, or even a sinus infection.

While there are many over-the-counter medicines that can help to clear congestion, one of the simplest and most effective treatments is to use a humidifier.

Humidifier Making Congestion Worse

Contrary to popular belief, humidifiers can actually make congestion worse. When the air is already humid, adding more moisture to it can cause the mucus in your nose and throat to become too thin and runny. This can lead to more irritation and inflammation, making it difficult to breathe.

In addition, humidifiers can also promote the growth of mold and bacteria, which can exacerbate respiratory problems and allergy symptoms.

For these reasons, it is best to avoid using a humidifier if you are suffering from congestion.

Instead, try using a saline spray or steam inhalation to help ease your symptoms.

Final Thoughts

In humid weather, the air holds more moisture, and this can cause the tissues in the nose to swell. Low humidity can also lead to congestion, as dry air can irritate the mucous membranes causing an itchy nose and throat.

However, congestion is more likely to occur in humid weather, as the high moisture content in the air can exacerbate the swelling of the tissue lining the nose.

Taking steps to adjust the indoor environment in your home to the preferred humidity levels will help you to have more control over the congestive symptoms of both high and low humidity levels.


Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those interested in the air quality in and around their homes. Trina writes content about things she’s passionate about, such as safe, in-home air, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.