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Rhinitis, also referred to as coryza, is a medical term, which describes an inflammation or irritation of the mucous membrane located in the nose or paranasal sinuses, which further leads to an increased secretion of mucous. This condition may occur due to viruses, bacteria, air pollution, allergens or other possible irritants. However, the most common types of rhinitis are either allergic or infectious ones. This type of ailment frequently appears along with other symptoms and signs. Nevertheless, in vast majority of the cases, it does not indicate any serious conditions and relieves spontaneously without professional medical care.
Classification and possible causes of rhinitis
Rhinitis can be divided into three major categories, based on its origin:
- Allergic, also known as hay fever – this type is the most common one and occurs as a consequence of allergen inhalation. Those allergens are stimulating the production of antibodies, which are further increasing mucous secretion. Itching, swelling or other unpleasant sensations may also be felt inside the nasal cavity. The most common allergens responsible for this type of rhinitis include dust and pollen of certain trees, grasses and weeds.
- Infectious – which appears due to viral or bacterial infection, like influenza, common cold or pneumonia. It frequently relieves spontaneously within 7 to 10 days and is usually accompanied by a combination of other symptoms and signs. Low temperature seasons are the onsets of the infectious rhinitis.
- Nonallergic – least common type, which is diagnosed after excluding causes related to either allergic or infectious category. Smoking, drinking alcohol, eating spicy foods, high air humidity, or hormonal abnormalities are frequently triggering this type of coryza. In addition, it may also develop due to intake of certain medications, e.g. nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and beta blockers.
Associated symptoms and signs
Apart from nose and paranasal sinuses, rhinitis may also influence entire human organism or surrounding tissues of the nose, such as throat or eyes. That is why this condition frequently appears with other symptoms and signs, which are experienced especially due to viral or bacterial infections.
The most popular features associated with rhinitis include:
- Nasal congestion
- High temperature
This type of condition may appear due to numerous reasons, thus treatment needs to be adjusted based on the underlying disorder. The most effective drugs for allergic type include corticosteroids and antihistamines, whereas topical decongestants, such as naphazoline, oxymetazoline or xylometazoline, are used in other types of coryza. It needs to be remembered, however, that inappropriate use of topical decongestants can lead to rhinitis medicamentosa (RM). RM is a condition characterized by emergence or re-emergence of nasal congestion, due to blood vessels constriction in the nasal cavity. Therefore topical decongestants should be administrated under healthcare professional supervision. Nevertheless, in certain cases, specific treatment might not be required, since the inflammation or irritation of the mucous membrane tend to relieve spontaneously.