Runny nose may not be allergy always.

October 24, 2008

After treating my viral fever for one week I developed dry cough again with no reason. I was already tested for Strep throat and certain other conditions. And I did not know what to do as a long air journey was awaiting me in a few weeks. It then occurred to me that I could email my doctor and ask for a suggestion. The unperturbed doctor said that Post nasal drip may return in some cases after a viral fever and recommended some Over The Counter drugs.

Non allergic Rhinitis

Repeated runny or stuffy nose can be symptom of Rhinitis (Rhin meaning nose). When Rhinitis is triggered off by an allergic reaction it is called allergic Rhinitis. When the lining of your nose swells due to expanding blood vessel nose congestion occurs which results in runny nose. Post nasal drip is a characteristic of Rhinitis where one has a feeling of mucus dripping downward from the back of the nose. Sometimes Post nasal drip is the real reason behind a sore throat or a chronic cough. Rhinitis affects both children and adults alike. Rhinitis is a very common condition and around 50 million Americans are affected by Rhinitis.

There are different kinds of Non allergic Rhinitis. The common types are:

  1. Vasomotor Rhinitis (Irritant Rhinitis) – An idiopathic type of Rhinitis which causes constant runny nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion. Neither allergic or infectious, it is poorly understood and is difficult to treat. Since the causes are unknown doctors generally ask the patients to avoid humid weather, smoking, exposure to scents and odors in the air and emotional stress- or any activity that many cause swelling in the extra-sensitive blood vessels of the nose. There are medications available to treat Vasomotor Rhinitis and surgical procedures are also considered in extreme cases.
  2. Eosinophilic Rhinitis- is characterized by the presence of a particular white blood cell, the eosinophil, in the nasal discharge. Patients have a runny nose and bouts of sneezing often triggered by weather changes. They may also develop noncancerous growths in the nose called nasal polyps.
  3. Rhinitis Medicamentosa- This condition is related to certain medications like the drugs used for hypertension, certain diuretics and decongestants. By discontinuing the drug or the offending nasal spray you can find relief from Rhinitis Medicamentosa.
  4. Neutrophilic Rhinosinusitis – An infection (sinus or cold) is often the cause of this type of Rhinitis. It is accompanied by sinus pain and Post nasal drip and is treated by decongestants and antibiotics.
  5. Atrophic Rhinitis- is chronic as the mucous membranes thin (atrophies) and harden, widening and drying out the nasal passage. It is often seen in older people, in people whose sinus has been removed and in those with a prolonged bacterial infection of the lining of the nose. It is a serious condition as it can lead to loss of smell in some. Medical or surgical treatment is available for Atrophic Rhinitis.

The common causes of nonallergic rhinitis are:

  • Smoke or fume
  • Certain odors
  • Temperature and humidity
  • Atmospheric changes
  • Other irritants

Symptoms

  • Bouts of sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Stuffy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy nose, throat, eyes, and ears
  • People with Rhinitis should avoid exposure to fumes and irritants and stop prolonged use of nasal sprays. Women should take extra care during menstruation and pregnancy as the condition can worsen when you have hormonal changes. Asthma, lupus and hormonal disorders may also have adverse effect on the condition. If self care and Over-the-counter medications do not show any effect on the symptoms and if the symptoms interfere with your normal life you should not hesitate to seek medical attention.

    - Aparna K V

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