Rhinitis is swelling and irritation in the nose. It's often triggered by an allergy. Non-allergic rhinitis is the term used for rhinitis that is caused by things other than allergies.
What causes it?
Certain triggers can cause swelling and irritation in the nose. They include:
Infection with a virus (viral or post-viral rhinitis).
Changes in the weather.
Polluted air, such as from fumes, smoke, odours, and perfumes.
Spicy food or drink.
Certain medicines, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and hormones.
Hormone changes in the body (such as rhinitis of pregnancy).
What are the symptoms?
Rhinitis symptoms can be long-lasting, or they can come and go. They may include a runny nose, a stuffy nose, or sneezing. Drainage down the back of the throat (post-nasal drip) from the nose and sinuses may also occur.
How is it diagnosed?
Your doctor will examine you and ask about your symptoms, such as how and when your symptoms started and what has made them worse or better. You may have allergy testing.
How can you care for yourself?
You can take simple measures to help relieve your symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis.
Try to avoid things that trigger your symptoms.
Use saline (salt water) to rinse your nasal passages once or twice a day. Then blow your nose. You can use:
A saline nasal spray. It's easy and quick to use, and you can find it in any drugstore.
A neti pot or squeeze bottle to stream salt water into one nostril and out the other. [To make a saline rinse, add 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of non-iodized salt and 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of baking soda to 2 cups (500 millilitres) of distilled or boiled and cooled water.]
Use a prescription or over-the-counter nasal medicine, as recommended by your doctor. Different types that might be helpful include antihistamine, corticosteroid, and decongestant sprays.
If your doctor recommends medicine to relieve symptoms, make sure to take it exactly as prescribed. For example, take a decongestant spray for no more than 3 or 4 days. Longer use can make symptoms worse. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
Current as of:
March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine Donald R. Mintz MD - Otolaryngology
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Donald R. Mintz MD - Otolaryngology
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