What is Rhinitis?

Non-allergic Rhinitis is a condition that resembles an allergy but has no known cause. People with this condition typically experience post-nasal drip, sneezing, runny nose and stuffy nose. It usually develops in adulthood. It is not seasonal; the symptoms may persist throughout the year. It is less common than allergic Rhinitis but is still fairly widespread.

What are its causes and concerns?

Since it is difficult to ascertain the cause of Non-allergic Rhinitis, the condition is only confirmed after the doctor has ruled out infections or Allergic Rhinitis. However, certain triggers present in the environment can lead to flaring up of its symptoms: 

Environmental irritants that could be inhaled:

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Hair spray
  • Wood dust
  • Cleaning solutions
  • Vehicle exhaust fumes
  • Perfume
  • Laundry detergents
  • Smog
  • Glues
  • Chlorine
  • Latex


  • Antidepressants
  • Some blood pressure medication
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs (like Ibuprofen or Aspirin)
  • Tranquillisers
  • Oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
  • Erectile dysfunction drugs

Foods and Beverages

  • Alcoholic beverages (particularly wine and beer)
  • Spicy foods (Mexican, Thai, Chinese)
  • Hot foods (coffee, tea, or soups)

Other Triggers

  • Sudden changes in the temperature or weather
  • Hormonal changes (that usually occur during puberty, pregnancy or menstruation)
  • Snorting street drugs

What are its symptoms?

Non-allergic Rhinitis can be just as uncomfortable as Allergic Rhinitis, even though it is not associated with the immune system. Both these conditions may be characterised by lowered work productivity, needing frequent visits to the doctor and side effects of treatment, like nosebleed, drowsiness and dryness of the nasal passages. Allergy tests and blood tests are often needed to differentiate between these two seemingly similar conditions. 

Some typical symptoms of Rhinitis are:

  • Loss of smell
  • Nasal congestion resulting from inflammation of the tissues lining the sinuses
  • Asthma symptoms (like wheezing and cough)
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Ear pain due to dysfunction of the eustachian tubes
  • Obstructive sleep apnea and snoring
  • Itchy, watery eyes

What are the solutions and treatment options?

Non-allergic Rhinitis, unfortunately, does not have a cure. But if you experience any symptoms, you should consider consulting our allergy specialists to develop a suitable solution for you. It is possible to alleviate the discomfort caused by this condition by following certain practices like:

  • Avoiding any known Rhinitis triggers (fireplaces, cleaning agents and aerosol sprays)
  • Avoiding smoke (active or passive)
  • Avoiding perfumes and colognes
  • Nasal irrigations for post-nasal drip (rinsing out the nostrils with a saline solution)
  • Using nasal glucocorticoids (like Flonase or Nasonex) daily
  • Oral decongestants (such as Pseudoephedrine)

Upon discussing with your doctor, you may be prescribed certain medication or may go for:

  • Prescription nasal antihistamines (like Patanase and Astelin)
  • Surgical intervention (for correction of a deviated septum or removal of nasal polyps)

In conclusion

In the end, avoiding your individual triggers as much as possible remains the most effective treatment method for non-allergic Rhinitis. Call today to book an appointment with our allergy specialist and allow us to help you breathe a sigh of relief!

Additional Reading: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/nonallergic-rhinitis

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