Does it seem like you have a runny or stuffed up nose more often than not? Then you may have a rhinitis condition.
Rhinitis condition is diagnosed as two general types: allergic rhinitis and non-allergic vasomotor rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis is caused by allergens you breathe in through your nose. Allergens can be any substance your immune system has identified as an intruder. And your symptoms are a result of your body’s overreaction to them.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is used to describe your immune system’s overreaction to common outdoor allergens, such as:
- tree pollen
- weed pollen
- grass pollen
Perennial allergic rhinitis is descriptive of an overreaction to indoor allergens, like:
- pet dander
- dust mites
- indoor mold
- cockroach particles
Here is a basic guide to help you pin down the likely cause for your allergy rhinitis:
- symptoms in spring ~ allergic to tree pollens
- symptoms in the summer ~ allergic to grass, weed pollens
- symptoms in late summer, fall ~ allergic to ragweed
- symptoms year round ~ perennial allergic rhinitis or nonallergic rhinitis
Nonallergic rhinitis, or vasomotor rhinitis, is a condition that causes a constant runny nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion in the absence of allergens or infection. In this case, your immune system is not involved in instigating your reaction.
What is causing your year round nonallergic reaction, with or without nasal inflammation, is not a simple answer. The most common cause for vasomotor rhinitis is long time use of nasal decongestant sprays.
Other causes include:
- air pollution
- nasal polyps
- strong smells
- other irritants
- dry atmosphere
- strong emotions
- drug side effects ~ blood pressure, oral contraceptives, erectile dysfunction
Treatment for rhinitis depends on the type, if the allergen or irritant is avoidable and how severe you react.
Milder cases of rhinitis may find success in controlling symptoms with OTC:
- nasal sprays
Next level of treatment is to visit an allergist/immunologist to help determine your triggers, via skin tests or blood tests. Once determined, your physician might prescribe medication to decrease your allergic or nonallergic rhinitis symptoms.
Various forms of allergen produced rhinitis medication treatment available:
- ipratropium nasal spray ~ used to reduce runny nose
- antihistamine pills/nasal sprays ~ blocks histamine release
- leukotriene receptor antagonists pills ~ block leukotrienes action
- allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) ~ builds immune system tolerance to allergens
- nasal corticosteroid sprays ~ reduce, control the impact of mediators causing inflammation
- decongestant pills/sprays ~ can contribute to relief, but should not be used for long periods
Vasomotor nonallergic rhinitis available forms of treatment:
- ipratropium nasal spray ~ reduce runny nose
- decongestant pills/sprays ~ reduce nasal congestion
- nasal corticosteroid sprays ~ used for nasal inflammation
- antihistamine nasal spray ~ may be helpful in relieving symptoms