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Allergic Rhinitis, Sinusitis and Rhinosinusitis - Inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane is called rhinitis. The symptoms include sneezing and runny and/or itchy nose, caused by irritation and congestion in the nose. There are two types: allergic rhinitis and non-allergic rhinitis.
Allergic Rhinitis occurs when the body’s immune system over-responds to specific, non-infectious particles such as plant pollens, molds, dust mites, animal hair, industrial chemicals (including tobacco smoke), foods, medicines and insect venom.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis or hayfever occurs in late summer or spring. Hypersensitivity to ragweed, not hay, is the primary cause of seasonal allergic rhinitis in 75 percent of all Americans who suffer from this seasonal disorder. People with sensitivity to tree pollen have symptoms in late March or early April; an allergic reaction to mold spores occurs in October and November as a consequence of falling leaves.
Perennial allergic rhinitis occurs year-round and can result from sensitivity to pet hair, mold on wallpaper, houseplants, carpeting and upholstery. Some studies suggest that air pollution such as automobile engine emissions can aggravate allergic rhinitis. Although bacteria is not the cause of allergic rhinitis, one medical study found a significant number of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus in the nasal passages of patients with year-round allergic rhinitis, concluding that the allergic condition may lead to higher bacterial levels, thereby creating a condition that worsens the allergies.
Non-Allergic Rhinitis does not depend on the presence of IgE and is not due to an allergic reaction. The symptoms can be triggered by cigarette smoke and other pollutants as well as strong odors, alcoholic beverages and cold. Other causes may include blockages in the nose, a deviated septum, infections and over-use of medications such as decongestants.
Patients who suffer from recurring bouts of allergic rhinitis should observe their symptoms on a continuous basis. If facial pain or a greenish-yellow nasal discharge occurs, contact our office for a consultation with our qualified ear, nose, and throat specialists.