Rhinitis is defined as the inflammation and irritation of the mucous membrane of the nose. While allergic rhinitis is the most common type of rhinitis, the condition may also be caused by non-allergic conditions. Whether the condition is caused by allergies or not, symptoms are similar and include congestion, a runny nose and chronic sneezing. However, the symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis are caused by no apparent reason.
Allergic rhinitis is commonly caused by airborne allergens, including dander or pollen. Additional symptoms may include coughing that is caused by postnasal drip, which may also cause a tickling sensation in your throat. Itchy eyes, nose, ears and throat are also common symptoms. Blocked nose, sensitivity to light, poor sleep, facial pain or discomfort, irritability, ear pressure or difficulty hearing, and dark circles underneath the eyes are all symptoms that may appear over time.
Non-allergic rhinitis doesn’t typically cause all of the symptoms associated with allergic reactions. Symptoms may include a runny and stuffy nose in addition to postnasal drip (throat phlegm), but do not usually include allergic symptoms such as itchy eyes, nose, ears and throat. Symptoms are very similar to hay fever, but there is no type of allergic reaction causing the symptoms. Whatever the cause, the end result is the same – congestion and enlarged nasal membranes.
How is Rhinitis Treated?
Allergy Skin testing is the single most important test to diagnose the allergic substances (allergens) that are responsible in causing the patient’s allergy symptoms – foods and dusts. Avoidance of the allergens that are causing the problem is the best treatment. Your health care provider will find the best treatment for you based on your age, overall health and medical history.
Medical treatment may include the use of allergic-decongestant tablets, decongestant nose drops, steam inhalations, allergy shots, drugs to reduce inflammation and very occasionally, when severe infection is present, antibiotics. Rarely, drainage of pus locked up in the sinuses by a surgical procedure is required by an E.N.T. Specialist.
The symptoms of rhinitis sometimes look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see your health care provider for a diagnosis.