How To Treat Swimmers Sinusitis

Swimmers may experience sinusitis due to chlorine in pools, causing nasal congestion, which can lead to sinus infections. Symptoms include runny nose, congestion, sneezing, sinus pressure, facial pain, and loss of smell. Treatments include antibiotics, decongestants, nasal corticosteroids, and saline spray. Preventive measures include skipping high-chlorine pools, using earplugs and nose clips, and rinsing with a neti pot post-swim.

how to treat swimmers sinusitis

When you have problems with your sinuses, you probably attribute it to a cold or allergies. However, if you are a swimmer, you may have sinus problems as a result.

Jumping into the pool is a great way to beat the heat of the summer. However, there may be a downside for you because chlorine can wreak havoc on your ears and nose.

However, there are some steps you can take to prevent and treat this condition. Continue reading to find out more about how to treat swimmers sinusitis. 

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, this site earns from qualifying purchases. Thank you!

Hey hey – real quick! Don’t forget to subscribe to get our best content 🙂

What is Swimmer’s Sinusitis?

Chlorine from a pool can cause irritation and swelling in the nose and ears. This may cause you to have nasal congestion after swimming. You may notice it right away, or it may take a few hours to appear.

The good news is that it is temporary. However, if you are highly sensitive to chlorine, it could have negative impacts, including sinusitis. Sinusitis is a sinus infection that is usually minor but has the potential to become a severe infection. 

Sinusitis happens when the sinus lining swells and traps mucus in the sinus chamber. When the mucus is trapped there, it is a breeding ground for bacteria. 

What are Symptoms of Swimmer’s Sinusitis?

Swimmer’s sinusitis is similar to your typical run of the mill sinus infection.

The main difference is that it is caused by swimming in a pool. Therefore, you can expect to have similar symptoms

Your symptoms may include the following:

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing 
  • Pressure around your sinus, such as the temples, eyes, and forehead
  • Pain when touching your face
  • Inability to smell

You should pay close attention if you have any of these symptoms when you get out of the pool, especially one with chlorine in it.

It is possible that chlorine is a major irritant to you. While you probably are not allergic to chlorine, you may be sensitive to it. 

How to Treat Swimmers Sinusitis 

While most sinusitis problems can be managed with over-the-counter treatment methods, you may find that the infection becomes severe and does not clear on its own. You may need to visit the doctor if that happens. 

Here are some treatments your doctor may recommend to address your symptoms:

  • Antibiotics – these are typically only used for severe infections. Often your doctor will wait to see if your sinusitis gets worse before prescribing. 
  • Decongestant – over-the-counter medication in tablet, liquid, or spray form to help reduce congestion. A doctor may also give you a prescription for this medication. These should only be used on a short-term basis. 
  • Nasal corticosteroids – sprays for the nose that reduces and prevent inflammation. 
  • Saline spray – this is a nasal spray you can use to rinse out the nasal passages. You can use it several times throughout the day.

How Do I Prevent a Sinus Infection After Swimming?

The best news is there are steps you can take to help prevent you from getting a sinus infection. Some of these options may be easier for you than others. You may also have to try some of them to see which ones give you the best results. 

If you know the pool has just had a chlorine treatment and the chlorine levels are high, you may want to skip your swim session.

Likewise, if the pool has just been shocked, you should also avoid swimming for a while. 

You can use earplugs and a nose clip that are intended for swimming while you are in the water. This equipment can help prevent water from getting into your nose and ears.

There are many different options for nose clips, and you may find that some are more comfortable than others. However, you may want to try a few before ruling them out. 

When you are finished swimming, you should consider using a neti pot to help flush out any chlorine that may have been left behind.

SinuCleanse Soft Tip Neti-Pot Nasal Wash Irrigation System for nasal congestion relief symptoms due to cold, flu and allergies, Pre-Mixed Buffered Saline Packets,Blue, 31 Piece Set

A neti pot uses a sterile saline solution that helps keep your nasal passages clear. Even if you wear nose clips, some chlorine may have gotten in. It would be best if you also showered as soon as you are finished swimming. 

If you are already suffering from a cold, you should avoid swimming. If you do not want to stay out of the pool, you should refrain from going underwater or diving into the pool. The pressure can force mucus and bacteria up into your sinuses. 

You can also try to use a saline nasal spray after you swim to help clear out your nasal passages. You may find this to be helpful to clear irritating chlorine from your nose. If you have allergies and they cause your nose to run, you may want to consider taking allergy medicine. 

As a last resort, before you reduce or stop swimming, you could consider finding a new pool. If you find that you are incredibly sensitive to chlorine, perhaps you could find a saltwater pool.

If you cannot find that, you may be able to find a pool with better ventilation or that is set to a different temperature. You may have better luck if you swim in an outdoor pool instead of an indoor one. 


How long does swimmer’s sinusitis last? 

You may find that swimmer’s sinusitis can last anywhere from three to seven days. However, you may find that some of your symptoms, like a runny nose, only last 12 to 24 hours. 

What is the fastest way to get rid of a sinus infection? 

The fastest way to clear up a sinus infection is to drink plenty of fluids and to keep your sinuses clear. You can use a saline solution to irrigate the sinuses and clear them. This helps to prevent post nasal drip. You can also use a decongestant. 

Can you get a sinus infection from a swimming pool? 

Yes, you can get a sinus infection from a swimming pool because of chlorine. The chlorine can cause swelling and irritation of the nasal passages once it is in the nose and ears. Once they are swollen, mucus is trapped and gets blocked. Then, bacteria can grow, leading to an infection. 

More FAQs

How do you treat swimming sinusitis?

The treatment for swimming sinusitis involves using a neti pot with a sterile saline solution to flush out any chlorine that may have entered the nasal passages or ears despite the use of earplugs or a nose clip. It is also recommended to take a shower right after swimming.

Do you need antibiotics for swimmers sinusitis?

Antibiotics may be necessary for swimmers sinusitis depending on the severity, progression, or persistence of symptoms. If prescribed by your doctor, it is important to complete the full course of antibiotics, even if symptoms improve.

Can water get trapped in your sinuses?

Water can indeed become trapped in your sinuses, especially if you have narrow passages caused by swelling or genetic factors. Liquids have an easier time entering the sinuses than exiting them, and individuals with smaller sinuses due to inflammation or genetics are more prone to experiencing trapped water.

How long does sinus barotrauma last?

Sinus barotrauma can last for different durations depending on the severity. Grade I typically causes mild and temporary sinus discomfort. Grade II is characterized by localized pain that can persist for up to 24 hours. In cases of Grade III, such as the one we are discussing, the pain is severe and lasts for more than one day.

Why does my child get sick after swimming?

Your child may experience illness after swimming due to exposure to germs present in contaminated water, which can be ingested, come into contact with the body, or be inhaled as mists or aerosols. Additionally, contact with chemicals in the water or their vaporization into the air can also lead to swimming-related illnesses.

How long does swimming sinusitis last?

Swimming sinusitis can last for a duration ranging from several days to a couple of weeks.

What are the 4 main symptoms of sinusitis?

The 4 main symptoms of sinusitis include nasal inflammation, a runny nose with thick, discolored discharge, postnasal drainage, and a congested or blocked nose that makes it difficult to breathe through the nose.

Can sinusitis go away on its own?

Sinusitis can resolve spontaneously within 2 to 3 weeks as it is typically caused by an infection that leads to swelling of the sinuses. However, if the symptoms persist for an extended period, medications can be beneficial in facilitating recovery.

Why do I catch a cold after swimming?

I catch a cold after swimming because there may be bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens in the water that can cause flu-like symptoms. Although chlorine is commonly used to eliminate these pathogens, it may not be fully effective against all types of bacteria and viruses.

How long does sinusitis last without antibiotics?

The duration of sinusitis without antibiotics can vary, but it is important to note that most cases clear up without the need for antibiotics. It is not recommended to use antibiotics within the first week of developing a cold, as they have no effect on viruses. Approximately 70% of sinus infections resolve within two weeks without the use of antibiotics.

How do I know if my sinus infection is bacterial?

You can determine if your sinus infection is bacterial by observing the following symptoms: Symptoms persisting for more than 10 days without any improvement, a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher (or as advised by your healthcare provider), yellow or greenish nasal discharge, and pain in the areas surrounding your nose.

What are the stages of a sinus infection?

The stages of a sinus infection are as follows: – Acute stage, which typically lasts for 4 weeks or less. Symptoms may improve with or without medical treatment.- Subacute stage, which usually lasts between 4-8 weeks. Symptoms continue despite seeking medical care.- Chronic stage, which lasts for 8 or more weeks.

How do you drain frontal sinuses?

To drain frontal sinuses, you can perform a frontal sinus massage. Start by placing your index and middle fingers above your eyebrows and softly massage in a circular motion. Gradually move your fingers diagonally towards the center of your forehead, then slowly towards the temples. It is recommended to repeat this process one to two more times, with each round lasting approximately 30 seconds to a minute.

Can swimming cause sinus headaches?

Swimming can indeed cause sinus headaches. The irritation caused by chlorine on the nasal lining and sinus membrane can lead to the onset of sinus headaches. Additionally, pressure changes in the water can cause blockage in the sinuses, further contributing to the occurrence of these headaches.

How do you rinse nasal passages?

To rinse nasal passages, you can perform a nasal rinse by keeping your head over a sink or tub and tilting it sideways to the left. Carefully pour or squeeze the solution into your right nostril, allowing the water to exit through the left nostril. Repeat the process on the other side.

How do you remove a sinus mucus plug at home?

To remove a sinus mucus plug at home, you can use a saline spray or irrigator to clear mucus and allergens from your nose and sinuses. It is important to look for sterile sprays that contain only sodium chloride and to use sterile or distilled water when rinsing. If you are interested in making a saline spray at home, you can find instructions on how to do so here.

Is swimmer’s sinusitis contagious?

Swimmer’s sinusitis is not contagious, although the virus that caused the sinus infection can be spread from person to person. Therefore, while another person may become ill, it does not necessarily mean they will develop a sinus infection.

How do I know if my sinus infection is bacterial or viral?

The way to determine if a sinus infection is bacterial or viral is by considering the duration of symptoms. If your symptoms start to improve after five to seven days, it is likely a viral sinus infection. However, if the symptoms persist for seven to 10 days or longer, and potentially worsen after seven days, it is more likely to be a bacterial sinus infection.

What is the best antibiotic for a sinus infection?

The best antibiotic for a sinus infection is typically amoxicillin or amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate (Augmentin) for a duration of 5 to 10 days. In cases where there is a penicillin allergy, a suitable alternative is doxycycline, followed by levofloxacin or moxifloxacin.

Why do I have thick glue like mucus in my nose?

You have thick glue-like mucus in your nose due to common causes such as viral and bacterial infections. This type of mucus can block your airways, leading to coughing and difficulty breathing. Viral respiratory illnesses typically resolve without treatment, but over-the-counter medications like decongestants and expectorants can help alleviate symptoms.

Similar Posts