Overview of Rhinitis
Inflammation and irritation of nasal mucous membrane is termed as rhinitis or coryza. It is characterized by stuffy and runny nose, sneezing and post nasal drip. Rhinitis can be categorized as infectious rhinitis, allergic rhinitis and non-allergic rhinitis. Rhinitis can occur for short duration (acute) or long duration (chronic). Acute form results from viral and bacterial infections or allergies while chronic form occurs with chronic sinusitis. Chronic rhinitis is characterized by post nasal drip which is accumulation of mucus in the back of nose and throat with sensation of mucus dripping from the back of nose.
Causes and Risk Factors of Rhinitis
Infectious rhinitis can be caused be viral and bacterial infections. Viral infections include common cold, which is caused by influenza virus, rhinovirus and coronaviruses and other types which are caused by adenoviruses, human parainfluenza viruses and enteroviruses. Rhinitis from bacterial infections can be caused by Haemophilus influenza, Moraxella catarrhalis and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Non-allergic rhinitis can be triggered by chemicals, smoking, perfumes, fumes and odors, pollution, spicy foods, hormones, old age and medicines and weather changes (temperature, humidity etc.). Allergic rhinitis includes seasonal rhinitis which is caused by pollens or airborne mold spores and perennial rhinitis which is caused by dust mites, pet hair, dander, mites or cockroaches.
Signs and Symptoms of Rhinitis
The characteristic features of allergic rhinitis include rhinorrhea (excessive nasal discharge), sneezing fits, nasal congestion and obstruction and itching. Other signs include conjunctival swelling, rings under the eyes, erythema (redness on skin and mucosa), watery eyes, swollen nasal turbinates and middle ear effusions. People may also have headache and may also cough and wheeze. Symptoms of viral rhinitis may consist of runny nose, sneezing, congestion, postnasal drip, cough, and a low-grade fever. Postnasal drip may lead to chronic cough and chronic sore throat. Chronic rhinitis causes nasal obstruction and, in severe cases, crusting, frequent bleeding, and thick, foul-smelling, pus-filled discharge from the nose.