Non-allergic rhinitis is a set of symptoms that look like an allergy but happens without a known cause. Non-allergic rhinitis has symptoms like postnasal drip, sneezing, runny nose and stuffy nose. It usually develops during adulthood and the symptoms last the whole year round. Non-allergic rhinitis does not involve the immune system. The symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis are somewhat the same with hay fever or allergic rhinitis yet there are no allergic reactions involved. If you want to learn ways to manage the symptoms, click here.
Symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis just come and go all year round and they last for hours or days and include sneezing, runny and stuffy nose, phlegm in the throat and postnasal drip. In case the symptoms are severe, the signs and symptoms do not improve by using over-the-counter medication or self-care and there are some side effects of medication, seek medical help.
Causes of non-allergic rhinitis
- Weather changes and temperature or humidity changes can cause the membranes found inside the nose to swell and result to a runny nose or stuffy nose.
- Some environmental and occupational irritants like dust, smog, second hand or overpowering odors of perfumes can cause non-allergic rhinitis. Fumes from certain chemicals can also cause a non-allergic rhinitis.
- Viral infections can also cause non-allergic rhinitis like cold or flu and it usually heals after several weeks but it can cause persistent mucus within throat or postnasal drip. Non-allergic rhinitis can also become chronic causing discolored nasal discharge, facial pain and pressure or sinusitis.
- Non-allergic rhinitis can happen while eating, especially eating hot or spicy foods and also drinking alcoholic beverages can cause the membranes found inside the nose to swell and cause nasal congestion.
- Some medications like aspirin, ibuprofen and medications for high blood pressure like beta blockers. Even overuse of decongestant sprays can cause a type of non-allergic rhinitis called rhinitis medicamentosa.
- Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menstruation and oral contraceptives and other hormonal conditions like hypothyroidism can also cause non-allergic rhinitis.
- Sometimes, emotional or physical stress can cause non-allergic rhinitis in some people.
Treatment and home remedies for non-allergic rhinitis
- Rinse the nasal passages by using a specially designed squeeze bottle like in saline kits, bulb syringe or a neti pot for irrigation of the nasal passages. Use nasal lavage to help keep the nose free from irritants.
- Use distilled or sterile, boiled and cooled water or water that is filtered using an absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller for irrigation solution. After using, rinse the irrigation device using the distilled, sterile, boiled and cooled water and leave the device open to air dry.
- Gently blow the nose if mucus or other irritants are present.
- Install a humidifier in the work and sleeping location or take a warm shower to breathe in the steam to help loosen the mucus in the nose and clear stuffiness of the head.
- Drink plenty of liquids especially water, juice or non-caffeinated tea.