Rhinitis, Sinusitis, Otitis, Laryngitis, Adenoiditis, Tonsillitis Are All Connected

Cut From the Same Cloth

The Unified Airway Model helps explain why children who have rhinitis also get more than their share of otitis (ear infections) or adenoiditis or tonsillitis or sinusitis or asthma exacerbations, etc.

All these anatomic regions have a similar lining, and when one area becomes inflamed or infected, they can all become inflamed.

In a sense, they’re all cut from the same cloth.  They’re all connected in that way.

Pediatric ENT, pediatric sinusitis, allergies, otitis, rhinitis, reflux, asthma, integrative holistic pediatric ENT, pediatric otolaryngology

It's All Connected

This figure above suggests that the nose, with rhinitis, holds a central position in all this.  That may or may not be the case, I don’t know.  On the other hand, a stuffy nose does seem to commonly precede the other infections to follow.

The Unified Airway Model suggests that it doesn’t really matter where the inflammation starts in the aero-digestive tract, that the mediators of inflammation will trigger responses in all of these places, regardless.  Anecdotal observation suggests that there is truth in that.

Nearest Neighbors

The figure below simply provides some sense of the anatomic, physical proximity of these areas to one another.  It is easy to see how any infection of the nose, sinuses, tonsils, adenoids, can all affect the ears, and vice versa.

Simple physical proximity.  They’re all connected in that way, too.

Pediatric ENT, pediatric sinusitis, allergies, rhinitis, sinusitis, reflux, otitis, integrative holistic pediatric otolaryngology

Anatomic Proximity of Rhinitis, Sinusitis, Adenoiditis, Otitis, Laryngitis, Tonsillitis


So, What To Do With This Information?

  • Well, for one thing, this information serves to make you aware (if you weren’t already).  To make you alert for the sinusitis that lingers for weeks following that “simple cold.”  To be alert for the asthma exacerbation following the ear infection, or for the ear infection to follow that stuffy nose, or ear infections that are related to reflux.
  • You CAN do something to prevent the spread of inflammation throughout the Unified Airway:  Optimize nasal hygiene.
  • Because the nose seems to hold a central position in all of this, it gives me an excuse to once-again recommend great nasal hygiene:
    • If your little boogorhead gets an otitis after every stuffy nose, consider saline nasal rinses to prevent that.
    • If your little boogorhead has a severe asthma exacerbation associated with every sinusitis, or with allergic rhinitis, consider doing nasal saline rinses to prevent that.
    • Check Resources, below, for additional information and tips on how to manage the child with a constellation of respiratory challenges.

If you haven’t already, visit the boogor doctor’s Amazon Store over on the right column of the blog.  (for transparency: I am an affiliate, and anything that you purchase through that link helps to support the expenses of this site).

On that link you will find some great products for optimizing nasal hygiene, and for doing saline nasal rinses.  Be sure to check out the Nasopure products.

While you’re there, check out the books that I have personally selected, that I have bought for my own library, and that I highly recommend – for those with asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, or reflux.


As always, thanks for visiting, and see you here again.  I appreciate your comments and questions.  Keep ‘em coming.

Please let me know what you would like to hear more about.  Please, “be excellent to one another.”

Best of health and success to you and your families.

Until next time, remember … you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose (unless you’re a boogor doctor :~D)

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10 Previous posts on this blog that you might find useful:

Allergic Rhinitis CAN be Controlled – Here’s How

Stop Breathing: Your Air is Killing You (and what to do about it)

Can Your Child’s Allergies be Cured with Drops Under the Tongue?

Nasal and Sinus Anatomy and Histology

3-Year-Old Boy Hospitalized with Severe Sinusitis: Easy Cure

Reflux and Otitis: Does GERD Cause Ear Infections?

Saline Nasal Rinses: Last in 4-Part Series

Saline Rinses: If Once/Day is Good, is 4 Times Per Day Even Better?

The 8 Basic Principles to Control Your Child’s Sinusitis

What Air Pollution Does to Your Nose and Sinuses

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