Rhinitis
Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Questions & Related Topics


Possible Symptoms for Rhinitis

Rhinitis is the medical term for inflammation of the nasal tissues. Common symptoms of rhinitis include:[1][2]

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Cough

Many people with rhinitis also experience postnasal drip. Postnasal drip occurs when mucus in the sinuses trickles down the back of the throat. Symptoms of postnasal drip may include:[3]

  • Sort throat
  • Nausea
  • Foul taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath

Top 6 Rhinitis Causes

1. Allergies

Many people experience seasonal allergies that can trigger rhinitis symptoms. Seasonal allergies often cause a stuffy or runny nose.[2] Allergy medications can relieve your symptoms during times when the pollen count is high.

2. Infection

Viral infections frequently cause rhinitis in children and adults. Influenza and the common cold often cause a runny nose, congestion, and sneezing.[1] If you have a viral infection, symptoms usually disappear on their own within a week or so. If your symptoms worsen over time, see a doctor for further advice.

3. Environmental irritants

Irritants in your environment can trigger many different rhinitis symptoms. Common environmental irritants include:[1]

  • Dust
  • Smoke
  • Perfumes
  • Chemical fumes
  • Car exhaust

Cigarette smoke is an especially common cause of rhinitis.[1] If you often suffer from rhinitis symptoms, it's best to keep your home smoke-free. Avoid dust, wood smoke, and locations where many people smoke cigarettes.

4. Weather changes

Some people experience rhinitis symptoms when the weather changes.[1] Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can both cause a runny or stuffy nose. These symptoms often disappear once your body adjusts to the new weather.

5. Certain medications

Prescription and over-the-counter medications can both cause nasal congestion. Medications that are known to cause rhinitis include:[1]

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Sedatives
  • Antidepressants
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Nasal sprays
  • High blood pressure medication

If you notice side effects from prescription medication, speak to your doctor or pharmacist. Don't stop taking your medication without your doctor's permission.

6. Certain foods

Food allergies can sometimes trigger rhinitis.[1] If you think you may be allergic to certain foods, see a doctor or allergist for further care. Your doctor can help you determine which foods you're allergic to. They can also teach you how to safely remove these foods from your diet.

3 Ways to Prevent Rhinitis

1. Avoid allergens

Avoiding known allergens can help prevent rhinitis symptoms. Your doctor can explain how to identify potential allergens and remove them from your environment.

Many people are allergic to grass, tree, or ragweed pollen.[2] If you are, you may need to avoid going outdoors when the pollen count is high. If you must go outside, a face mask can help block some of the pollen.

2. Avoid irritants

You can also prevent rhinitis by avoiding exposure to known irritants. Stay away from cigarette smoke, dust, chemical fumes, and strongly scented personal care products.[1] Whenever possible, avoid visiting locations where these irritants are present.

3. Use medications as directed

Misusing medication can sometimes cause rhinitis. It's vital that you take all medicines as prescribed. When using over-the-counter medications, follow the package directions. Do not exceed the recommended dose without your doctor's permission. Taking too much of certain drugs may cause nasal inflammation.[1]

Possible Rhinitis Treatment Options

1. Saline sprays and nasal rinses

Saline is a mixture of salt and sterilized water. Nasal saline rinses can help flush dirt, dust, pollen, and bacteria from your sinuses. These products can also help moisturize dry nasal passages.[4]

When using these products, be sure to follow all package directions. Saline sprays and rinses are usually a safe treatment option, but it's essential to ensure that your saline rinse is sterilized before use. Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information on safety procedures for these products.

2. Corticosteroid nasal sprays

Steroid nasal sprays can help shrink swollen nasal passages.[4] They're usually available both over the counter and by prescription. These medications can be helpful for people who don't respond to antihistamines.

3. Antihistamines

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can reduce inflammation caused by allergies. They're often used as a short-term or long-term treatment for managing seasonal allergies.[4][5]

4. Decongestants

Decongestants help relieve rhinitis symptoms caused by an infection or an allergic reaction.[5] Most decongestants are available over the counter, but some can only be dispensed by a pharmacist. These medications may have side effects for some people, particularly those with heart conditions.[4] Before taking a decongestant, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Rhinitis Treatment

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Have you recently been sick?
  • Have you been around someone who has a contagious illness?
  • What prescription medications are you taking?
  • What over-the-counter drugs or supplements are you taking?
  • Do you have seasonal allergies?

Rhinitis May Also be Known as:

  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Chronic rhinitis
  • Hay fever

References:

  1. Mayo Clinic. Nonallergic rhinitis: Symptoms & causes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nonallergic-rhinitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351229
  2. Mayo Clinic. Hay fever: Symptoms & causes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/symptoms-causes/syc-20373039
  3. WebMD. What is postnasal drip? https://www.webmd.com/allergies/postnasal-drip#1
  4. Mayo Clinic. Nonallergic rhinitis: Diagnosis & treatment. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nonallergic-rhinitis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351235
  5. Mayo Clinic. Hay fever: Diagnosis & treatment. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20373045

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