Allergic and Nonallergic Rhinitis

Rhinitis: 2 Types & How to Treat Rhinitis

Allergic and Nonallergic Rhinitis

When the inside of the nose and sinus cavity becomes inflamed and swollen, causing congestion, sneezing, or runny nose, it could result from rhinitis. Rhinitis comes in two forms, nonallergic and allergic. Allergic rhinitis is an excessive immune system reaction, triggering a response to an otherwise harmless substance. Allergic rhinitis is typically called “hay fever” or allergies. Rhinitis, classified as nonallergic, could be caused by a wide range of environmental factors.

What are the Symptoms?

Sinus Congestion

A noticeable swelling and inflammation of the nasal passages lead to sinus blockage and difficulty breathing through the nose. This condition can develop within a few minutes to hours after exposure.

Rhinorrhea, aka Runny Nose

A runny nose is characterized by clear and thin mucus from the nose and sinus.


One of the most visible and immediate reactions, sneezing, is a robust reaction as the body attempts to expel irritants and clear the sinus cavity.

Postnasal Drip

Rhinitis causes a fair amount of mucus production; it can flow in two directions. When it goes down the throat, it’s known as a postnasal drip.

Itchy and Watery Eyes

Redenning and swollen happen with allergies, but not nonallergic rhinitis. Occasionally this can also affect the ears and mouth.

Additional Symptoms:

• Snoring
• Poor sleep
• Headaches
• Fatigue
• Irritation after eating fresh fruits or vegetables, such as peaches, apples, cherries, celery, and others.

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is a condition defined as when the immune system is sensitive to a usually benign substance, such as pollen. The body’s immediate reaction is to release histamine, which causes symptoms like sneezing, itching, and congestion. It’s estimated that over 100 million Americans have some form of allergies. Most of them have at least one parent with allergies. Allergies can develop or fade away as we age; general long-term health plays a huge factor in how our bodies deal with the world around us throughout our lives.

Treatment Options:

The most crucial step in treating allergic rhinitis is getting tested and receiving an accurate diagnosis. Once you know precisely what you are allergic to, appropriate measures can be taken to find relief.

Reducing Exposure

Lessening allergens in your home and environment can go a long way to provide relief. Throwing out old carpets, adding HEPA filters to vacuum cleaners, and changing cleaning habits can reduce the amount of allergens you are exposed to.

Over-the-Counter Remedies

There are many OTC products that can provide temporary relief for allergy symptoms. Eye drops, nasal sprays, and decongestants can be easily found at many local stores, such as pharmacies and grocery stores. While they can be very effective in the short term, long-term overuse can lead to worse problems. Make sure to consult your doctor before starting any treatment.


If allergy symptoms persist or OTC remedies fail to provide relief, a doctor can prescribe much stronger therapies. Medications like antihistamines and nasal sprays are much more potent than over-the-counter ones. Your doctor may recommend allergy shots, which can help reduce and possibly eliminate the symptoms of allergies altogether.

Nonallergic Rhinitis

Nonallergic rhinitis is a nonallergic sensitivity with numerous causes, and it’s not entirely understood why some people are inclined to develop this condition. Medications like steroid sprays or spray antihistamines can help. However, nonallergic rhinitis can often be more challenging than allergic rhinitis, as other treatments, like oral antihistamines, are not found to be effective.

Nonallergic Rhinitis Types

Rhinitis types that are not allergy related are categorized by the source causing the problem. The different types of nonallergic rhinitis are:

Vasomotor Rhinitis

Vasomotor rhinitis occurs from specific sensitivities that vary depending on the person; things like chemical exposure, changes in weather, perfumes, and smoke are some typical examples.

Occupational Rhinitis

This form of rhinitis affects people exposed to workplace hazards like production dust, airborne contaminants, and harmful chemicals.

Pregnancy-Related Rhinitis

As a woman’s body changes with pregnancy, hormonal changes can create sensitivities to various external elements.

Gustatory Rhinitis

Gustatory rhinitis occurs as a response to ingesting certain foods or drinks; alcohol and spicy food are typical sources.

Drug-induced Rhinitis

This kind of rhinitis directly results from the overuse of medications such as decongestant sprays. The result is congestion that gets worse as the medication loses potency.

Chronic Rhinitis

While it is more typical for allergic rhinitis to become chronic if left untreated, especially after multiple events, nonallergic rhinitis can also become chronic. Chronic rhinitis can cause trouble sleeping, headaches, and fatigue.

Treatment Options:

Doctors treat nonallergic rhinitis with medications that can be used to alleviate symptoms and advise the importance of making an effort to avoid triggers. If you are experiencing rhinitis, you can usually treat it with non-prescription medications. However, if you find that the medicines are not working or are unsure of what is causing your symptoms, seek medical advice from a doctor who can help you identify your triggers. Treatments like environmental control measures and allergy shots do not work because allergens are not the culprit.

Similar Posts: