What is Rhinitis?
Rhinitis is a medical condition that describes inflammation of the nose. Inflammation occurs as a result of the production of large amounts of mucous caused by bacteria, viruses and irritants such as airborne allergens, dust and debris. These irritants trigger the release of histamine.
When the nose is irritated, the mucous then becomes thick and yellowish in color and may flow to the front and back of the nose and throat It also affects the eyes and may even cause ear problems, as well as sleeping and learning difficulties. It is estimated that more than fifty million Americans suffer from rhinitis.
Types of Rhinitis
There are two categories of rhinitis – allergic and non-allergic rhinitis.
Types of allergic rhinitis
- Seasonal (occurs during pollen seasons)
- Perennial (occurs throughout the year)
Types of non-allergic rhinitis
- Vasomotor rhinitis (irritant rhinitis)
- Rhinitis medicamentosa
- Neutrophilic rhinosinusitis
- Structural rhinitis
- Nasal polyps
- Primary vasomotor instability
Symptoms and signs of Rhinitis
The common symptoms and signs of allergic rhinitis include:
- Runny nose
- Post-nasal drip
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy eyes, ears, nose and throat
- Eye tearing
- Sore throat
The common symptoms and signs of non-allergic rhinitis include:
- Stuffy nose
- Post-nasal drip
The diagnosis of rhinitis is based on your physical symptoms as well as medical examination. If your doctor suspects allergies, allergy tests may be performed. Allergy tests usually involve skin testing – small amounts of allergens are placed onto the skin to see if an allergic reaction is caused.
What Causes Rhinitis?
The most common causes of allergic rhinitis include:
- House dust mites
- Pet or animal dander
The most common causes of non-allergic rhinitis include:
- Strong odors
- Changes in temperature
- Hormonal changes
- Sensitivity to food and drink
- Certain medications
Help for Rhinitis
In order to manage and control rhinitis, a combination of preventative measures together with medication can provide relief and reduce symptoms. Avoiding allergens and irritants that may exacerbate rhinitis is very important to stay healthy. Make certain lifestyle changes such as eating healthily, exercising regularly, as well as getting enough sleep and rest can also make significant difference.
Treatment options for rhinitis (allergic and non-allergic) include oral and inhaled medications such as antihistamine pills and sprays, nasal corticosteroid sprays, decongestant pills or sprays. Other treatment options include immunotherapy, allergy injections and surgery if there is nasal obstruction. Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, breathing exercises, massage therapy or yoga may also be helpful.
Herbal and homeopathic remedies have also proven to be extremely beneficial in reducing the symptoms of rhinitis. The ingredients are carefully selected and gentle to use on the body without the harsh side effects of conventional medicine. Quercitin is a well known herb that acts as a powerful anti-oxidant, boosts the immune system, and improves circulation while Euphrasia officinalis (Eyebright) keeps eyes healthy and bright.
Homeopathic ingredients such as Arsen alb., Nat. mur and Kali mur maintain the skin, nervous and respiratory system while also promoting feelings of calm and serenity. Remember to consult a qualified herbalist or homeopath for guidance.
More Information on Rhinitis
Tips to Reduce the Symptoms of Rhinitis
There are a number of useful tips to reduce the symptoms of rhinitis and these include:
- Avoid allergens as much as possible once you are aware what is causing your allergy
- Close doors and windows to prevent pollen and spores blowing into the house
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet to support your immune system
- Vacuum carpets and dust regularly with a damp cloth
- Wash clothing and hair regularly because pollen can cling to it
- Change bed sheets regularly and cover mattresses with mattress protectors
- Keep your home well-humidified
- Wear close-fitting sunglasses to prevent pollen from blowing into your eyes
- Avoid with areas with a high count of pollen such as gardens, grass, parks or fields
- Stop smoking and do not allow others to smoke in your home or presence
- Keep pets out of the house, especially the bedroom and living room
- Reduce your intake of alcohol – alcohol can be dehydrating and increase symptoms of rhinitis