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Prolonged Nasal Irritation and Chronic Rhinitis

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Do you suffer from endless sneezing and runny noses that just won't go away? Are you taking antishistamines or degonestants for days on end? Do you have hay fever symptoms that seem to last year round? If so, you're likely suffering from chronic rhinitis.

Chronic Rhinitis is inflammation and irritation of the nose that can last for weeks or months at a time. It can be caused by any number of sources such as allergies, irritants, physiological problems or even drug use. It can occur at any time of the year, which makes it very similar to perennial rhinitis.

Causes

Chronic Rhinitis can be caused by a wide variety of allergies, or irritants. Anything that irritates your nasal passages for a prolonged period of time will eventually lead to chronic rhinitis.

Allergies are the most common cause of chronic rhinitis. An allergic reaction is what your body uses to fight off substances that it believes to be dangerous. A runny nose is one of the ways your body responds to allergens. The goal being to flush the allergens out of the body. If you are allergic to a lot of different allergens, and experience allergies during many of the different seasons, then you are more likely to be at risk of suffering from chronic rhinitis.

In addition to allergies, there are many irritants that can cause rhinitis as well. Irritants do not cause an allergic reaction the same way that allergens do. Your body does not try to fight them off like they are germs. However, they still cause irritation and inflammation in the lining of your nasal passages.

pollen, pets, and chemicals can cause rhinitis

Common Allergens

  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Dust
  • Pet Dander

Common Irritants

  • Cleaning products
  • Chemicals
  • Pollution
  • Cigarette Smoke
  • Perfumes
  • Drugs that are snorted (cocaine)

Symptoms

Because it is most frequently caused by airborne allergens, the symptoms of chronic rhinitis are going to be similar to most allergy symptoms.

chronic rhinitis causes endless runny noses
  • Sneezing
  • Runny Nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Post Nasal Drip

Chronic Rhinitis can also be accompanied by all of these other common allergy symptoms:

  • Red/Itchy Eyes
  • Watery Eyes
  • Irritation of the skin
  • Constricted Airways
  • Wheezing
  • Breathing Difficulty

Be sure to consult a doctor if you are experiencing wheezing or difficulty breathing. These symptoms may be a sign of a more serious allergic reaction, or of asthma. In some instances, severe allergic reactions, or asthma attacks can be fatal, so see a doctor immediately if you are experiencing these.

Treatment

The number one treatment is to avoid the source of the irritation. Depending on what is causing the irritation, different actions may be required.

Treating chronic rhinitis first requires that you have some idea as to what is causing the irritation. If your symptoms occur when going outdoors, then seasonal/outdoor allergens are likely the culprit that you should be avoiding. If your symptoms occur indoors, then indoor allergens, or irritants are most likely to blame.

Indoor Allergens

Try regularly cleaning in your home with the goal to remove allergens, not just dirt. Dust hard surfaces regularly, including the tops of your ceiling fan blades. Use an air purifier indoors to remove dust and allergens from the air before it settles. Regularly change your HVAC filters and even consider having your HVAC duct system cleaned professionally to remove built up allergens.

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Pet Allergens

Regularly groom/clean your cats or dogs to remove excess hair. Wipe them down with a damp cloth to lift off built up allergens. Keep your pets off the furniture in your home and especially out of the bedrooms both day and night.

Outdoor Allergens

Try staying indoors on high allergen days by watching allergen forecasts. If you decide to go outside, consider using antihistamines BEFORE you go out. This will prevent the onset of an allergic reaction which will lead to rhinitis. After you come indoors, try washing/rinsing your face, eyes, and hands to wash off any allergens that you may have come in contact with while outside. You would be surprised how easy it is to irritate your nose or eyes with allergens you picked up by touching the door handle of your car, or mailbox.

Irritants

Try using new types of cleaning products that you find less irritating, or stop using them altogether and switch to a more mild cleaner like soap and water. Air fresheners, aerosol sprays and perfumes can also cause irritation. Avoid people who smoke, or ask them to not smoke around you as cigarette smoke is a common nose and lung irritant.

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