Rhinitis is inflammation of the lining of the nasal passages, which causes a blocked or runny nose. Unlike seasonal rhinitis – such as hay fever, which is only present for part of the year – having persistent rhinitis means you are stuck with these annoying symptoms all the time. The severity of symptoms can also vary; you can get a mild irritation in your nose that maybe only causes you a real problem now and again, or you can have constant sneezing and a blocked, itchy, and runny nose all day, every day. This can be distressing and can affect the way you enjoy life as well as your ability to study and work effectively.
The treatments available for persistent rhinitis largely depend on what is causing your symptoms. Options include avoiding anything that triggers an attack, or medical treatment such as antihistamines or steroids in the form of a nose spray or tablets. If you have very severe persistent rhinitis, you may be offered other treatments such as desensitisation or surgery.
This article on persistent rhinitis is by Kathryn Senior, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
What causes persistent rhinitis?
The cause of persistent rhinitis can be either allergic or non-allergic. An allergy to house dust mites or animal dander (fur and skin) is the most common trigger for symptoms of allergic persistent rhinitis. Other less common allergic triggers – such as latex, dust or chemicals – can also cause the familiar itchy and runny nose. It is also possible for irritants such as smoke, strong smells, fumes, changes in temperature or humidity, and even food sensitivities to underlie persistent rhinitis.
Some medications or medical conditions can also sometimes cause symptoms, as can emotions and periods of extreme stress. In some people, there doesn’t seem to be any specific trigger for their persistent rhinitis – they are said to have idiopathic rhinitis.