Dr Colin Brown - Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon
Rhinitis is the inflammation of the lining of the nose (nasal mucosa). The most common symptoms are a blocked, runny and itchy nose.
Rhinitis can be:
- allergic – either seasonal (hay fever) caused by pollen allergies or perennial caused by e.g. house dust mite, pets.
- infectious – e.g. the common cold
- non-allergic, non-infectious – caused by irritants such as smoke, fumes, food additives
In the case of allergic rhinitis, the specific allergen (the thing that you are allergic to) may be identified by skin prick tests. This involves placing a drop of the allergen on your skin and then scratching your skin through the drop. If you are allergic, your skin will become red and swollen at the site.
Treatment of allergic rhinitis involves avoiding the allergen if possible, but if not possible then corticosteroid nasal sprays and antihistamines are the usual medications prescribed.
In order to help the ability to breathe through the nose, sometimes a reduction in the size of the "inferior turbinates" may be recommended. The inferior turbinates are humidifying tissues in the nose, which often swell in response to allergies.