Smoking and sinusitis

Smoking is one of the most important causes of head and neck cancer. Another important untoward result of active and second hand smoke exposure is the increased risk of respiratory bacterial infecion.  These include acute and chronic sinusitis, ear infections, bronchitis and pneumonia. Recent studies we and others did show that smokers harbor more pathogenic bacteria that are also resistant to antibiotics, can be a source of spread of these bacteria to others (including their children), and when smokers get respiratory infections treating them may be more difficult than treating non-smokers.

In a recent study we evaluated the microbiology of sinus aspirates of smokers and nonsmokers with acute (244 patients, 87 smokers and 157 nonsmokers ) and chronic (214 patients84 smokers and 130 nonsmokers) maxillary sinusitisWe found that sinusitis in smokers is more often caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria including methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) than in non smokers.

Oropharyngeal ccolonization with potential bacterial pathogens is higher in smokers than non smokers. Cesation of smoking reverses the increased colonozation by pathogens.


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