Log in

Bishop: Monsoon season brings bacterial, fungal infections


During monsoon season, Arizona’s unique desert storms may bring cooler weather to the Valley, but they also increase respiratory disease and other health risks for us Phoenicians. When it finally arrives here in the Phoenix area, monsoons and haboobs bring intense pressure build up and thick walls of dust, manure, pesticides from agricultural land and whatever else the storm picks up along the way.

As a Valley naturopathic physician and founder of Keystone Natural Family Medicine, our team of doctors see an influx of sinus infections around monsoon season.

When symptoms of a sinus infection appear patients are typically prescribed antibiotics to fight the bacterial disease. But when taking antibiotics seem ineffective or of little help, it’s evident that the cause may not be bacterial.

So if it isn’t bacterial, then what is causing a spike in sinus infections?

My Keystone team of doctors and I have found that these sinus issues, at times, are of a fungal nature. When people inhale the dust and whatever else is mixed into the storm, spores build up in their sinus cavities, causing irritation, runny nose, migraines among other symptoms.

To help prevent or treat these respiratory symptoms, the Keystone team suggest:

  • Stay indoors: The best way to protect yourself from these symptoms is to not expose yourself to the storm, if you can help it.
  • Mask up: COVID or not, wearing a face mask when out during a storm will reduce your chances of inhaling anything the storm is carrying.
  • Clean your nose: Try rinsing your nasal cavity with a Neti pot, or similar product, if you begin to feel symptoms of a sinus infection. If symptoms persist, schedule an appointment with your physician.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Kristen Bishop is Keystone Natural Family Medicine’s Lead Doctor and Medical Advisor, overseeing all care, its residency program and sees patients as well. As the legislative committee chair for the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association and an Arizona delegate for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, Dr. Bishop is focused on quality care for all patients at Keystone Natural Family Medicine and strives to bring innovation to Naturopathic Medicine.