Relief Allergy & Sinus Institute

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What is Rhinitis?

Rhinitis is a medical condition characterized by inflammation and irritation of the mucous membrane inside the nose. It’s commonly associated with symptoms such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, and itching. There are two main types of rhinitis:

  1. Allergic Rhinitis: This is caused by allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, mold, or flakes of skin from certain animals. It’s often seasonal, occurring at specific times of the year (like during pollen season), but can also be perennial, happening year-round. In allergic rhinitis, the immune system overreacts to the allergens, leading to the symptoms.

  2. Non-Allergic Rhinitis: This type is not caused by allergens and can be triggered by a variety of factors including environmental irritants (like smoke or strong odors), infections, medications, and certain underlying health conditions. The symptoms are similar to allergic rhinitis but without the allergic reaction.

Rhinitis can affect quality of life, disrupting sleep, and daily activities. It’s often managed through avoidance of triggers, medications like antihistamines or nasal sprays, and in the case of allergic rhinitis, immunotherapy may also be considered.

Symptoms:

  • Persistent runny nose
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Itching and sneezing

Treatments:

Treatment for rhinitis often depends on the type (allergic or non-allergic) and the severity of the symptoms. Here are some common treatments:

  1. Allergic Rhinitis:

    • Antihistamines: These medications can help reduce sneezing, itching, a runny nose, and watery eyes.
    • Nasal Corticosteroids: These are sprays designed to reduce inflammation in the nose.
    • Decongestants: These can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. They are available as oral medications or nasal sprays.
    • Leukotriene Modifiers: Prescription medications that block the action of leukotrienes, chemicals that cause allergic symptoms.
    • Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy): These are administered over several years to gradually reduce your immune system’s reaction to specific allergens.
    • Nasal Irrigation: Using a saline solution to rinse your nasal passages and relieve congestion, sneezing, and postnasal drip.
  2. Non-Allergic Rhinitis:

    • Saline Nasal Sprays: These help to rinse and moisturize the nasal passages.
    • Anticholinergic Nasal Sprays: These specifically target a runny nose.
    • Corticosteroid Nasal Sprays: In some cases, these can help reduce inflammation of the nasal lining.
    • Decongestants: Similar to allergic rhinitis, these can relieve nasal congestion. However, they should be used cautiously as they can exacerbate symptoms if used for too long.
    • Lifestyle Changes: Avoiding triggers such as tobacco smoke, strong odors, and pollution can help.
  3. Other Treatments:

    • In-Office Procedure: The RhinAer® system leverages low-temperature radiofrequency energy to interrupt the nerve fibers that cause a runny nose. In this procedure, your Relief ENT Surgeon inserts a flexible tube through a nostril and positions it accurately in the nasal passageway. The system administers low doses of electrical energy to the targeted nerve area while preserving the healthy adjacent tissue. Since there are no cuts or incisions, patients usually experience minimal discomfort during this quick in-office procedure.

      The RhinAer® procedure is clinically demonstrated to improve symptoms over 90% of patients.

    • Oral Corticosteroids: For severe cases of rhinitis, especially when nasal polyps are present.
    • Ipratropium Bromide Nasal Spray: Used to control a runny nose by inhibiting the nasal glands directly.
    • Treatment for Underlying Conditions: If the rhinitis is caused by an underlying condition like a hormonal imbalance, sinus infection, or medication side effect, treating the root cause can alleviate symptoms.

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