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What Is Rhinitis?

What Is Rhinitis?

Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Shuba Iyengar, MD, MPH
Dr. Shuba Iyengar, MD, MPH
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Shuba completed medical school at Duke University, earning her MPH in tandem at UNC. After a research fellowship at the NIH, Shuba completed her residency at Stanford, then fellowship in allergy-immunology at Boston Childrens/Harvard.

Shuba returned to the Bay Area to join Dr. Bocian at a large multi-speciality health system where she helped lead an allergy practice. She cofounded Allermi to make expert allergy care more accessible for all.
Written by:
Katelyn Johnson, B.S., M.B.A, CMA
Katelyn Johnson, B.S., M.B.A, CMA
Katelyn Johnson is a freelance writer, Certified Medical Assistant, and Nationally Registered EMT with 8+ years of clinical experience across multiple specialties. She has a Bachelor’s in Biology, Master’s in Healthcare Administration, and is currently obtaining a Bachelor’s in Nursing. Katelyn is an advocate for providing patient education in an approachable way through online resources.

Rhinitis, also known as hay fever or nasal allergies, occurs when your immune system reacts to things in your environment, called allergens.

There are two main types of rhinitis: allergic and non-allergic. Allergic rhinitis is caused by an overreaction of the immune system to allergens such as pollen, dust mites, or pet dander. Non-allergic rhinitis, on the other hand, can be caused by irritants such as smoke, pollution, or strong odors, or by infections such as the common cold.

Common symptoms include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing

This can lead to feeling tired, headaches, facial pressure and pain, as well mouth-breathing and problems sleeping. The most common triggers are pollen from trees/grasses/weeds, dust mites, and pet dander.


While many allergy medications by mouth help relieve itchiness, they are often not very effective and do not make the inflammation better. We believe that the most effective treatment is a prescription nasal spray that combines two to three powerful ingredients to target congestion and inflammation, preceded by a hydrating nasal mist to target dryness and irritation.

The nasal sprays are thought to be more effective. Also, since they are mainly absorbed by the nose and not by the whole body, so you can take less medicine.


Rhinitis, which is a medical condition that causes inflammation and irritation of the nasal cavity and the lining of the nose, can be caused by a number of factors. While it is not entirely clear what causes rhinitis, research has shown that there is a genetic component to the condition. Studies have found that individuals with a family history of rhinitis are more likely to develop the condition themselves. However, it is important to note that genetics is not the only factor that contributes to the development of rhinitis.

Environmental factors such as exposure to allergens, pollutants, and irritants can also play a role in the development and severity of the condition. If you are experiencing symptoms of rhinitis, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

What are the different types of rhinitis?

There are several different types of rhinitis, including allergic rhinitis (hay fever), non-allergic rhinitis, infectious rhinitis, and hormonal rhinitis.

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is caused by an allergic reaction to airborne substances such as pollen, dust mites, or animal dander. Symptoms may include sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and congestion.

Non-allergic rhinitis, on the other hand, is not caused by an allergic reaction. It may be triggered by irritants such as smoke, strong odors, or changes in temperature and humidity. Symptoms are similar to allergic rhinitis.

Infectious rhinitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection. It is often associated with a cold or flu and may include symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, and cough.

Hormonal rhinitis is a type of non-allergic rhinitis that occurs during pregnancy or hormonal changes. It is caused by increased blood flow to the nasal passages, leading to congestion and runny nose.

Understanding the type of rhinitis you have can help you manage your symptoms and find the appropriate treatment. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. 


Untreated rhinitis can lead to chronic sinusitis, ear infections, sleep problems, impaired learning or work performance, and decreased quality of life.

Moreover, untreated rhinitis can also increase the risk of developing asthma, as the inflammation can spread from the nose to the lungs.

In addition, chronic nasal congestion can cause nasal polyps, which are noncancerous growths that can obstruct the nasal passages and lead to difficulty breathing. Furthermore, untreated rhinitis can also cause headaches, facial pain, and pressure due to the blocked sinuses.

Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical attention if you suspect you have rhinitis, as early treatment can prevent these potential complications and improve your overall health and well-being.


In addition to medical treatment, there are several tips and tricks that can help manage rhinitis symptoms:

  1. Keep your home clean and free of dust and other allergens. Regular cleaning can help reduce the presence of irritants in the air.
  2. Avoid smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke, as it can aggravate rhinitis symptoms.
  3. Avoid using strong perfumes or cleaning products that may irritate the nasal passages.
  4. Practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently, to reduce the spread of germs and prevent infections.
  5. Eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated to help support your immune system.
  6. Get plenty of rest and exercise regularly to help reduce stress and promote overall health.

By following these tips and tricks, you can help manage your rhinitis symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.


Rhinitis FAQ

What is rhinitis?
Rhinitis is a medical condition characterized by inflammation of the nasal passages, leading to symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and itching of the nose, throat, and eyes. There are two main types of rhinitis: allergic and non-allergic.

What causes allergic rhinitis?
Allergic rhinitis is caused by an allergic reaction to airborne substances such as pollen, mold, dust mites, and animal dander. When a person with allergies inhales these substances, their immune system overreacts, causing inflammation and the release of histamines, which lead to the symptoms of rhinitis.

What are some common non-allergic causes of rhinitis?
Non-allergic rhinitis can be caused by a variety of factors, including irritants such as cigarette smoke and strong odors, changes in temperature or humidity, hormonal changes, and certain medications.

Can rhinitis be treated?
Yes, there are several treatment options available for rhinitis, including over-the-counter and prescription medications, allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots), and lifestyle changes such as avoiding triggers and using air purifiers.

Luckily, there is now another option available that treats all of your allergy symptoms with just one nasal spray. Keep reading to learn more about Allermi!

Is rhinitis contagious?
No, rhinitis is not contagious. It is an inflammatory condition caused by environmental or internal factors and cannot be transmitted from person to person. 


Using multiple over-the-counter allergy treatments is not ideal for treating Rhinitis. Most allergists recommend and prescribe nasal sprays. This is because they are considered to be more effective. Nasal sprays go right to the nose to reduce inflammation and prevent it from spreading to the eyes and sinuses. Also, because nasal sprays go directly to the nasal tissue and not the rest of the body, they also usually have far less side-effects than pills. Skip the drugstore and get a personalized all-in-one allergy treatment from the comfort of your home. 

Allermi is a customized nasal spray designed by experienced, board-certified allergists to solve your unique seasonal allergy symptoms. The Allermi formula is backed by
science to give you the most effective allergy treatment for your individual allergy symptoms. 

The best part? Allermi nasal spray is easy to use and delivered right to your door.