rhinitis

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Rhinitis

 

Definition

Rhinitis is inflammation of the mucous lining of the nose.

Description

Rhinitis is a nonspecific term that covers infections, allergies, and other disorders whose common feature is the location of their symptoms. In rhinitis, the mucous membranes become infected or irritated, producing a discharge, congestion, and swelling of the tissues. The most widespread form of infectious rhinitis is the common cold.
The common cold is the most frequent viral infection in the general population, causing more absenteeism from school or work than any other illness. Colds are self-limited, lasting about 3-10 days, although they are sometimes followed by a bacterial infection. Children are more susceptible than adults; teenage boys more susceptible than teenage girls; and adult women more susceptible than adult men. In the United States, colds are most frequent during the late fall and winter.

Causes and symptoms

Colds can be caused by as many as 200 different viruses. The viruses are transmitted by sneezing and coughing, by contact with soiled tissues or handkerchiefs, or by close contact with an infected person. Colds are easily spread in schools, offices, or any place where people live or work in groups. The incubation period ranges between 24 and 72 hours.
The onset of a cold is usually sudden. The virus causes the lining of the nose to become inflamed and produce large quantities of thin, watery mucus. Children sometimes run a fever with a cold. The inflammation spreads from the nasal passages to the throat and upper airway, producing a dry cough, headache, and watery eyes. Some people develop muscle or joint aches and feel generally tired or weak. After several days, the nose becomes less inflamed and the watery discharge is replaced by a thick, sticky mucus. This change in the appearance of the nasal discharge helps to distinguish rhinitis caused by a viral infection from rhinitis caused by an allergy.

Diagnosis

There is no specific test for viral rhinitis. The diagnosis is based on the symptoms. In children, the doctor will examine the child's throat and glands to rule out measles and other childhood illnesses that have similar early symptoms. Adults whose symptoms last longer than a week may require further testing to rule out a secondary bacterial infection, or an allergy. Bacterial infections can usually be identified from a laboratory culture of the patient's nasal discharge. Allergies can be evaluated by blood tests, skin testing for specific substances, or nasal smears.

Treatment

There is no cure for the common cold; treatment is given for symptom relief. Medications include aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for headache and muscle pain, and decongestants to relieve stuffiness or runny nose. Patients should be warned against overusing decongestants, because they can cause a rebound effect. Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines are also available; however, most antihistamines carry warnings of drowsiness and the inability to do some tasks while medicated. Claritin is a prescription-strength OTC non-drowsy antihistamine that helps relieve symptoms of rhinitis. Antibiotics are not given for colds because they do not kill viruses.
Supportive care includes bed rest and drinking plenty of fluid.
Treatments under investigation include the use of ultraviolet light and injections of interferon.
Many prescription and over-the-counter drugs are available to help control the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. The most common class is antihistamines.

Alternative treatment

Homeopaths might prescribe any of 10 different remedies, depending on the appearance of the nasal discharge, the patient's emotional state, and the stage of infection. Naturopaths would recommend vitamin A and zinc supplements, together with botanical preparations made from goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), or astragalus (Astragalus membraneceus) root.
At one time, the herb (Echinacea spp.) was touted as a remedy to relieve cold and rhinitis symptoms. However, a study published in 2004 reported that the herb failed to relieve cold symptoms in 400 children taking it and caused skin rashes in some children.

Prognosis

Most colds resolve completely in about a week. Complications are unusual but may include sinusitis (inflammation of the nasal sinuses), bacterial infections, or infections of the middle ear.

Prevention

There is no vaccine effective against colds, and infection does not confer immunity. Prevention depends on:
  • washing hands often, especially before touching the face
  • minimizing contact with people already infected
  • not sharing hand towels, eating utensils, or water glasses.

Resources

Periodicals

"Study: Echinacea Is Ineffective." Chain Drug Review February 16, 2004: 25.

Key terms

Interferon — A protein produced by cells infected by a virus that stimulates the body's resistance to the virus.

rhinitis

 [ri-ni´tis]
inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose; it may be either mild and chronic or acute. Viruses, bacteria, and allergens are responsible for its varied manifestations. Often a viral rhinitis is complicated by a bacterial infection caused by streptococci, staphylococci, and pneumococci or other bacteria. hay fever, an acute type of allergic rhinitis, is also subject to bacterial complications. Many factors assist the invasion of the mucous membranes by bacteria, including allergens, excessive dryness, exposure to dampness and cold, excessive inhalation of dust, and injury to the nasal cilia due to viral infection.



It usually is not serious, but some forms may be contagious. The mucous membrane of the nose becomes swollen and there is a nasal discharge. Some types are accompanied by fever, muscle aches, and general discomfort with sneezing and running eyes. Breathing through the nose may become difficult or impossible. Often rhinitis is accompanied by inflammation of the throat and sinuses. If bacterial infection develops, the nasal discharge is thick and contains pus.

Acute rhinitis is the medical term for the common cold. Chronic rhinitis may result in permanent thickening of the nasal mucosa. Treatment of rhinitis is aimed at eliminating the primary cause and administration of decongestants to relieve nasal congestion.
acute rhinitis common cold.
allergic rhinitis any allergic reaction of the nasal mucosa, occurring perennially (nonseasonal allergic rhinitis) or seasonally (hay fever).
atrophic rhinitis a chronic form of nonallergic noninfectious rhinitis marked by wasting of the mucous membrane and the glands. It is sometimes the result of trauma, vascular damage by radiation therapy, and environmental irritants, and disease has also been implicated.
rhinitis caseo´sa that with a caseous, gelatinous, and fetid discharge.
fibrinous rhinitis membranous rhinitis.
hypertrophic rhinitis that with thickening and swelling of the mucous membrane.
membranous rhinitis chronic rhinitis with the formation of a false membrane, as in nasal diphtheria; called also fibrinous rhinitis.
nonseasonal allergic rhinitis allergic rhinitis occurring continuously or intermittently all year round, due to exposure to a more or less ever-present allergen, marked by sudden attacks of sneezing, swelling of the nasal mucosa with profuse watery discharge, itching of the eyes, and lacrimation. Called also nonseasonal or perennial hay fever.
seasonal allergic rhinitis hay fever.
vasomotor rhinitis
1. nonallergic rhinitis in which transient changes in vascular tone and permeability (with the same symptoms of allergic rhinitis) are brought on by such stimuli as mild chilling, fatigue, anger, and anxiety.
2. any condition of allergic or nonallergic rhinitis, as opposed to infectious rhinitis.

rhi·ni·tis

(rī-nī'tis),
Inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane.
Synonym(s): nasal catarrh
[rhin- + G. -itis, inflammation]

rhinitis

/rhi·ni·tis/ (ri-ni´tis) inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane.
allergic rhinitis  any allergic reaction of the nasal mucosa, occurring perennially (nonseasonal allergic r.) or seasonally (hay fever) .
atrophic rhinitis  chronic rhinitis with wasting of the mucous membrane and glands.
rhinitis caseo´sa  that with a caseous, gelatinous, and fetid discharge.
fibrinous rhinitis  membranous r.
hypertrophic rhinitis  that with thickening and swelling of the mucous membrane.
membranous rhinitis  fibrinous r.; chronic rhinitis with the formation of a false membrane, as in nasal diphtheria.
nonseasonal allergic rhinitis , perennial rhinitis allergic rhinitis occurring continuously or intermittently all year round, due to exposure to a more or less ever-present allergen, marked by sudden attacks of sneezing, swelling of the nasal mucosa with profuse watery discharge, itching of the eyes, and lacrimation.
seasonal allergic rhinitis  hay fever.
vasomotor rhinitis 
1. nonallergic rhinitis in which symptoms like those of allergic rhinitis are brought on by such stimuli as chilling, fatigue, anger, or anxiety.
2. any condition of allergic or nonallergic rhinitis, as opposed to infectious rhinitis.

rhinitis

(rī-nī′tĭs)
n.
Inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes.

rhinitis

[rīnī′tis]
Etymology: Gk, rhis + itis, inflammation
inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, usually accompanied by swelling of the mucosa and a nasal discharge. It may be complicated by sinusitis. Rhinitis may be acute, allergic, atrophic, or vasomotor. Also called coryza.

rhinitis

Inflammation of nasal mucosa. See Allergic rhinitis, Medicamentosa rhinitis, Seasonal allergic rhinitis, Vasomotor rhinitis.

rhi·ni·tis

(rī-nī'tis)
Inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane.
[rhin- + G. -itis, inflammation]

rhinitis

Inflammation of the mucous membrane lining of the nose. Rhinitis is one of the commonest of human complaints and is a major feature of the common cold and of hay fever (ALLERGIC RHINITIS). The membrane becomes swollen, so that the air flow is partly or wholly obstructed, and its glands become overactive causing excessive mucus production and a watery discharge. Vasomotor rhinitis is the result of a disturbance of the nervous control of blood vessels in the mucous membrane. Hypertrophic rhinitis, with thickening and persistent congestion of the membrane, is the result of long-term inflammation or repeated infection. Atrophic rhinitis features shrinkage and loss of the mucous membrane, with dryness, crusting and loss of the sense of smell.

rhi·ni·tis

(rī-nī'tis)
Inflammation of nasal mucous membrane.
[rhin- + G. -itis, inflammation]

rhinitis (rīnī´tis),

n inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, usually accompanied by swelling of the mucosa and a nasal discharge. Rhinitis may be acute, allegic, atrophic, or vasomotor.

rhinitis

inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose. It may be mild and chronic, or acute. There are signs of wheezing, sneezing and respiratory stertor at all levels. There is a strong nasal discharge which may be serous to purulent.

allergic rhinitis, anaphylactic rhinitis
any allergic reaction of the nasal mucosa, occurring perennially (nonseasonal allergic rhinitis) or seasonally.
atrophic rhinitis
see atrophic rhinitis.
bovine atopic rhinitis
see enzootic nasal granuloma.
catarrhal rhinitis
the common form of rhinitis with a transitory catarrhal discharge.
familial allergic rhinitis
a rarely recorded disease of cattle.
fibrinous rhinitis
rhinitis with development of a false membrane.
hypertrophic rhinitis
that with thickening and swelling of the mucous membrane.
inclusion body rhinitis
see inclusion body rhinitis.
membranous rhinitis
chronic rhinitis with a membranous exudate.
necrotic rhinitis
see necrotic rhinitis.
parasitic rhinitis
see pneumonyssuscaninum.
polypous rhinitis
chronic rhinitis associated with polyps in the nasal cavity.
pseudomembranous rhinitis
coagulated discharge clings to the mucosa like a membrane but can be peeled off without leaving a mucosal lesion.
purulent rhinitis
chronic rhinitis with formation of pus.
vasomotor rhinitis
1. nonallergic rhinitis in which transient changes in vascular tone and permeability (with the same symptoms of allergic rhinitis).
2. any condition of allergic or nonallergic rhinitis, as opposed to infectious rhinitis.

Patient discussion about rhinitis

Q. ALLERGIC RHINITIS what are the causes of?

A. well...that's easy- allergy. some materials, let's say pollens, can travel through the air and then when someone smell them- his body can react like this substance if in fact a threat. cells in the nasal cave release substances that cause rhinitis.

Q. What is the difference between chronic sinusitis and chronic rhinitis? I have chronic rhinitis but it is hard to tell if I have sinusitis.

A. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the nasal cavities. The names specify the location. It can be caused by anything, if gonorrhea bacteria will enter the nasal cavities and infect them- that is sinusitis also. Rhinitis is an inflammation of the internal nose. Again can be caused by anything. The way to differentiate- the sinuses are a closed space. If it fills with liquid too much- it’ll hurt.

More discussions about rhinitis