Rhinitis is when a reaction occurs that causes nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and itching. Most types of rhinitis are caused by an inflammation and are associated with symptoms in the eyes, ears, or throat. There are several types of rhinitis. The most common are acute rhinitis, which is usually caused by a viral illness, allergic or seasonal rhinitis, and nonallergic or year-round rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is caused when allergens in the air trigger the release of histamine in the body. Histamine causes itching, swelling, and fluid to build up in the fragile linings of the nasal passages, sinuses, and eyelids.
The most common causes of rhinitis are:
People with asthma are at a higher risk for rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is a common problem that may be linked to asthma. However, this link is not fully understood. Experts think that since rhinitis makes it hard to breathe through the nose, it is harder for the nose to work normally. Breathing through the mouth does not warm, filter, or humidify the air before it enters the lungs. This can make asthma symptoms worse.
Controlling allergic rhinitis may help control asthma in some people.
Symptoms of rhinitis include:
Most often, the diagnosis is made by your healthcare provider based on an in-depth history and physical exam. In addition to the above signs, the healthcare provider may find:
Avoidance of the allergens that are causing the problem is the best treatment. The symptoms of rhinitis sometimes look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Treatments for rhinitis may include:
Preventive measures for avoiding allergic rhinitis include:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider: