Rhinitis involves inflammation in the lining of the nasal cavity which can be allergic or non-allergic. When it comes to allergic rhinitis, it occurs when an allergen is inhaled that can be seasonal, perennial or both. As for the non-allergic type, it is similar to the allergic type by not triggered by any specific allergen.
What are the causes?
Allergic rhinitis is triggered when the immune system perceives an allergen. The immune system works to eliminate the allergen by releasing histamine. Remember that this chemical is responsible for causing the symptoms.
The non-allergic rhinitis is harder to diagnose because it is not triggered by an allergen and does not involve the immune system. The symptoms of the non-allergic type can occur for short or extended periods of time. Some of the common causes include certain odors, foods, smoke and pollution. Other possible causes include hormonal changes, weather changes, infections or stress. Additionally, it is oftentimes triggered by structural issues in the nasal cavity such as narrow passages or tumors.
Who are at risk?
Individuals who have a family history or allergies face a higher risk for rhinitis. If an individual has already food or other allergies or exposed to irritants such as secondhand smoke, he/she is likely to experience rhinitis.
What are the symptoms of rhinitis?
The symptoms can vary from minor or even severe. In most cases, the condition generally targets the nasal cavity, eyes and the throat which includes the following:
- Sore or scratchy throat
- Itchy nose
- Runny nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Postnasal drip
- Slight loss of taste, smell or hearing
- Facial pain or headache
Management of rhinitis
The ideal way to manage allergic rhinitis is to avoid the potential allergens. If the individual is allergic to mold, pets or other household allergens, they must be avoided. When it comes to pollen or other outdoor allergens, avoid staying outdoors during the peak hours. In case the allergen could not be avoided, decongestants, steroid sprays and antihistamines are used. In some cases, allergy shots and other medications might be given.
When it comes to the non-allergic type, the nasal sprays that include corticosteroids or antihistamines can be used. The nasal sprays and decongestants can also help control the symptoms. Surgery might also be an option for the non-allergic type triggered by structural issues.
The allergy type typically clears up upon exposure to the allergen has passed. The non-allergic type can last for a longer period but can be managed with proper treatment.