Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis causes misery for many during Oklahoma’s long allergy seasons. Rhinitis means “inflammation of the nose.” The nose produces fluid called mucus, which is normally thin and clear. Mucus helps keep dust, debris, and allergens out of the lungs. Mucus traps particles like dust and pollen in addition to viruses and bacteria.

Mucus drains down the back of the throat. Many are usually not aware of this because it is a small amount and is thin most of the time. If the nose becomes irritated, it may produce more mucus, which becomes thick and pale yellow. In addition, mucus may begin to flow from the front of the nose. Substances in the mucus can irritate the back of the throat and cause coughing. Postnasal drip occurs when more mucus drains down the back of the throat.

What Causes Rhinitis?

Allergens, which are substances that provoke an allergic response, or irritants can cause allergic rhinitis. Body cells react to these irritants or allergens by releasing histamine and other chemicals. Rhinitis can be a temporary condition and can clear up on its own after a few days for many people. In others, especially those with allergies, rhinitis can turn into a chronic or recurring issue. It can last for weeks or months with continuous exposure to allergens.

Types of Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis – caused by allergies to substances called allergens

Seasonal allergic rhinitis – also called hay fever. Those who have seasonal allergic rhinitis do not have to have a fever and do not have to be exposed to hay to develop this condition. Hay fever occurs mainly in the spring and fall when pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds are in the air.

Perennial allergic rhinitis is caused by allergens present all year long. The primary causes of this type of rhinitis are allergies to dust mites, mold, animal dander, and cockroach debris.

Non-allergic rhinitis is not caused by allergens. It can be provoked by smoke, chemicals, or other irritating environmental conditions. Hormonal changes, physical defects of the nose, and overuse of nose sprays may also cause it. It is common in patients with non-allergic asthma. Symptoms are similar to allergy symptoms.

Infectious rhinitis is also known as the common cold or upper respiratory infection. Infectious rhinitis occurs when the cold virus settles into the mucus membranes of the nose and sinus cavities and causes an infection.

Rhinitis Symptoms Include:

  • Itching in the nose and eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose (congestion)
  • Runny nose
  • Mucus in the throat (postnasal drip)


It can be hard to distinguish between allergies and the common cold. An allergist can help you set up a treatment plan if you have rhinitis that is treatable. Avoid allergens that trigger a nasal response. You can find out what those allergens are through testing at the Oklahoma Allergy & Asthma Clinic.

  • Antihistamines taken by mouth or a nasal spray. They can relieve sneezing, itchiness in the nose or throat, reduce a runny nose, and possibly nasal stuffiness.
  • Decongestants taken by mouth or a nasal spray or drops. These can help shrink the lining of the nasal packages.
  • Nasal corticosteroids in nasal spray form. These reduce inflammation in the nose and block allergic reactions.
  • Leukotriene receptor antagonists blocks important chemical messengers other than histamine involved in allergic reactions.
  • Cromolyn sodium is a nasal spray that blocks chemical messengers other than histamine and leukotrienes.

Those who don’t get relief from medications may be candidates for immunotherapy. This long-term treatment can prevent or reduce the severity of allergic reactions and change the course of allergic disease by modifying the body’s immune response to allergens.

Contact Oklahoma Allergy

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms listed above or would like to schedule a consultation with one of our professionals, give us a call at (405) 235-0040 today!

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