A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop sinusitis with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing sinusitis. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

Risk factors for sinusitis include the following:


Smoking and being exposed to second-hand smoke increases your risk of developing sinusitis.

Certain Medical Conditions

The following medical conditions increase your chances of getting sinusitis:

  • A recent cold
  • Medication, such as prolonged use of decongestant sprays
  • Nasal obstruction due to:     
  • Polyps
  • Deviated septum
  • Facial bone abnormalities
  • Swollen adenoids
  • Cleft palate
  • Tumor
  • Allergies
  • Certain chronic illnesses, including:     
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Kartagener’s syndrome (a disorder of the cilia throughout the body)
  • Wegeners granulomatosis
  • HIV infection
  • Diabetes
  • Immotile cilia syndrome
  • Head injury or a medical condition requiring a tube inserted in the nose
  • Age

    In general, elderly people and young people have a higher risk of developing acute bronchitis, including sinusitis.


    Women have a greater chance of developing sinusitis than men.

    Ethnic Background

    Whites and blacks have a higher risk of developing sinusitis than do Hispanics.

    Environmental Factors

  • Traveling to high altitudes
  • Air pollution
  • Living in the Midwest or southern United States
  • Activities

    Flying and diving both increase your chance of getting sinusitis.