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Non-Allergic Rhinitis Causes and Treatments

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Unlike allergic rhinitis, non-allergic rhinitis is a type of nasal irritation that is not caused by an allergic reaction. However, even though no allergic reaction is happening, the symptoms are still very similar to normal allergies such as hay fever. It still involves a lot of sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion. It can people of any age and is common among children and adults, but tends to occur more frequently for people over the age of 20.

Although it is not caused by an allergic reaction, there are a number of different things that can irritate your nasal passages and lead to non-allergic rhinitis. Airborne irritants such as chemicals, smoke, pollution, or even things like weather or temperature changes can lead to you experiencing the symptoms. Pretty much anything that irritate your nasal passages can cause non-allergic rhinitis.


Common allergens such as dust or pollen do not cause non-allergic rhinitis. If you think you are being bothered by these allergens, you can still be experiencing the same symptoms, but then it would be considered allergic rhinitis and have different types of treatments.

There are a number of different things that can trigger your symptoms including:

Aerosol Sprays can cans nasal irritation.
  • Weather or Temperature Changes (Including changes in temperature or humidity)
  • Irritants
  • Chemicals/Fumes
  • Aerosol Sprays
  • Smoke
  • Perfumes
  • Certain Medications
  • Foods (See Gustatory Rhinitis)


Although the cause of your irritation is going to be an irritant, rather than an allergen like dust or pollen which would be the case in hay fever/allergic rhinitis. The symptoms are going to be very similar to the symptoms of seasonal allergies. These include:

  • Runny Nose
  • Stuffy Nose
  • Sneezing
  • Post Nasal Drip

If your nasal passages are being irritated enough to cause these symptoms, then you may also experience irritation in other areas including your eyes or skin. Some accompanying symptoms may include:

  • Itchy Eyes
  • Red Eyes
  • Watery Eyes
  • Itchy Skin
  • Red/Irritated Patches on Skin


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Avoiding the irritants that cause your symptoms is always the best way to prevent any type of rhinitis. However, when this is difficult to do, there are many other practical remedies including:

Nasal Irrigation/NetiPot: These are similar to saline nasal sprays. NetiPots are used to rinse out your nasal passages and wash away irritants, mucus, and debris that are the cause of, or result of your irritation. Nasal irrigation can provide quick and effective relief. In addition, advocates say it can improve sinus and nasal health if used regularly.

Use decongestants to relieve rhinitis.

Nasal Decongestants: Over-the-Counter nasal decongestants can help relieve nasal congestion and a runny nose. However, be careful not to over use the decongestants sprays too much as this can lead to a condition called Rhinitis Medicamentosa.

Saline Nasal Sprays: These are used to wash irritants out of your nasal passages. They can be over-the-counter or made at home from a saltwater solution. These are less likely to cause a dependency which can occur with decongestant nasal sprays.

Humidifier: Because non-allergic rhinitis can be brought on by temperature or humidity changes, one solution is to control your environment by using a humidifier. Air with very low humidity can dry out your nasal passages and contribute to irritation and other problems. Keep a set humidity level in your home or office can help prevent the onset of your nasal irritation.