WHAT IS RHINITIS? Rhinitis is the general term for inflammation of the mucous membrane found in the nose. This inflammation causes excess amounts of mucus to be generated, usually resulting in a runny nose or post-nasal drip. WHAT IS ALLERGIC RHINITIS? It is type of rhinitis that is caused by an allergic response in the body. Symptoms of can include a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, itchy nose, and congestion. The materials that trigger this allergic response are called allergens, and these can be found both outdoors and indoors. When outdoor allergens are the culprit, allergic rhinitis is called “hay fever” or seasonal allergies. Common outdoor allergens are the pollens from trees, grasses, and weeds, as well as molds that are found on plants and in the soil. These allergens are highly affected by changing weather conditions. WHAT IS PERENNIAL ALLERGIC RHINITIS? Perennial allergies are those that last year-round. They are caused by common indoor allergens like animal dander, the remnants of cockroaches, dust mites, and indoor molds. WHAT IS NON-ALLERGIC (IRRITANT) RHINITIS? Non-allergic rhinitis is rhinitis caused by pollution, smoke, strong smells, particles in the air, weather changes, or similar irritants. It can also occur as a result of a thyroid disorder, pregnancy, or as a side effect of certain medications. Non-allergic rhinitis can cause symptoms year-round, including nasal congestion. WHAT IS NARES? Non-allergic rhinitis w/ eosinophilia syndrome (NARES) is characterized by the presence of eosinophils (specific blood cells seen in allergy) in nasal secretions, but negative allergy skin tests. Symptoms and medical treatment are similar to allergic rhinitis. Two factors that affect this condition are environmental changes and nasal polyps. WHAT IS RHINITIS MEDICAMENTOSA? Rhinitis medicamentosa is a type of rhinitis that results from the overuse of non-prescription nose sprays that work by constricting blood vessels in the lining of the nose. This kind of rhinitis is best treated by stopping the use of the nasal spray that has caused the problem, though this solution may temporarily result in severe congestion. Your NYC allergist may recommend alternative treatments, such as a saline nasal spray or topical corticosteroids to help you through this transition. WHAT IS STRUCTURAL RHINITIS? It is a form of rhinitis that is a result of structural abnormalities in the nose, specifically the septum – the cartilage in your nose that separates the right and left sides. These abnormalities can be something that you were born with, such as small nasal passages, or the result of an injury, such as a broken nose. Structural rhinitis occurs year-round and can result in increased congestion in only one nostril. WHAT ARE NASAL POLYPS? They are growths on the mucus membrane of the nose that can cause symptoms of rhinitis, especially congestion. Nasal polyps can also interfere with your ability to smell or cause recurrent sinusitis. Polyps generally begin between 20 & 40 years old, can cause year-round symptoms, and may be related to aspirin sensitivity & asthma. CONCLUSION If you experience rhinitis or hay fever, the associates and allergists at the NY Allergy & Sinus Centers would like to help. We have access to the latest treatments and testing, and we offer convenient asthma & allergy clinics throughout NYC: Murray Hill, Midtown, Upper West Side, Chelsea, and Queens. We see adult and pediatric patients (children) from all around the NYC metropolitan area, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Call NY Allergy & Sinus Centers today at 212-686-4448 for more info.