Rhinitis is a reaction that can cause nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itching and more. Rhinitis is generally considered either allergic, as a reaction to an allergen, or nonallergic, typically occurring year-round and not triggered by any known allergen.
Treating allergic rhinitis may involve a combination of the following:
- Avoiding allergens
- Symptom management
Because a specific allergen does not trigger nonallergic rhinitis, it can be harder to identify and treat. Let’s look at some causes of nonallergic rhinitis and how you can begin to treat it.
What Triggers Nonallergic Rhinitis?
Nonallergic rhinitis is usually triggered by environmental factors including but not limited to:
- Change in the weather
- Smoke fumes
- Barometric pressure change
- Long-term health problems
- Spicy foods
Because nonallergic rhinitis triggers tend to be larger and harder to identify than allergens, it is important to keep track of when your symptoms flare up and what factors may be present at the time.
An ear, nose and throat specialist will likely identify nonallergic rhinitis by ruling out allergic rhinitis through an allergy skin prick or blood test. If they cannot identify an allergen, you are likely experiencing nonallergic rhinitis, and they can use this discovery to inform your treatment path.
Treating Nonallergic Rhinitis
Nonallergic rhinitis is harder to identify and is frequently ignored as a minor issue, but studies have shown that “untreated rhinitis does significantly increase the risk of other comorbid conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea, fatigue, headache, malaise, poor appetite and weakness.” Promptly addressing and seeking treatment from an ENT specialist for nonallergic rhinitis can significantly benefit your overall health.
To avoid developing comorbid conditions, your ENT specialist may suggest one or more of the following treatments:
- Avoidance. You may be advised to avoid odors, air pollutants and chemical or smoke fumes depending on which environmental triggers you are most sensitive to.
- Steroids. Steroids can be used to treat nasal swelling from nonallergic rhinitis.
- Antihistamines. Antihistamines can help manage the symptoms of nonallergic rhinitis, similarly to how they manage allergic rhinitis.
- Decongestants. Decongestants promote mucus drainage and relieve the pressure in your sinus cavity.
- Nasal saline. Nasal saline, usually poured through the nostrils with the help of a neti pot, can help promote mucus drainage and clear up your airways for easier breathing.
Contact Midwest ENT Centre today for more information on treating nonallergic rhinitis symptoms.