Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood on August 30, 2012

Sources

Jordan S. Josephson, MD, Director, New York Nasal and Sinus Center

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Video Transcript

Narrator: Why do we have sinuses and what's their use?

Jordan S. Josephson, MD: Well, sinuses are very important. Some people think that sinuses developed to lighten your head because they're air-filled cavities, but we do know that they act as the filter for the air that we breathe and so essentially as you breathe into your nose, the air gets heated by structures called turbinates. These turbinates are like the radiators to your nose, and then the air goes through the sinuses and gets filtered in the sinuses, filtered of bacteria, viruses, fungus, pollution, cigarette smoke, allergens, whatever is out there that your lungs really shouldn't have. So it heats, vaporizes at the same time, and filters the air and then that air comes in through the back of your nose into your lung, and then your lung gets air of the proper temperature, filtration and humidification.