St. Joseph Hospital of Orange
1100 West Stewart Dr, Orange, CA 92868714.633.9111
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Nasal & Sinus Center
About Us
Allergies
Advice From Your Allergist on Rhinitis
What is Rhinitis?
What is Sinusitis?
What is Allergic Rhinitis?
What Causes the Sneezing, Itchy Eyes and Other Symptoms?
No Hay, No Fever - So Why "Hay Fever?"
Is Allergic Rhinitis Ever the Cause of Other Problems?
Are All Cases of Rhinitis Caused By Allergies?
What Are Other Causes of Rhinitis?
What Triggers Vasomotor Rhinitis? (Runny Nose)
Medications
What Other Medications Are Effective in Treating Rhinitis?
Contact Us
Our Experts
FAQs
New Treatment Options
Balloon Sinuplasty
Breakthroughs - Somnoplasty
Snoring Treatment Options
Sleep Apnea Solutions
Gulf War Missile Tracking Technology Used in Sinus Surgery!
Nose News Newsletter
Effective Relief for Your Chronic Stuffy Nose! (Vol. 1 No. 2)
Feel Like Your Nose Needs a Superhero (Vol. 1 No. 3)
Hay Fever: Fact or Fiction?
Hyperarousal Theory of Primary Insomnia
I Can't Believe My Dentist Sent Me to the Doctor for Tooth Pain!
Nasal Sprays: Are You Doing More Harm Than Good?
Snoring Sends a Serious Signal
Snoring...Sweet Dreams to Nightmares
Snoring - The Noisy Nightmare!
Understanding the Nose and Its Function
You Don't Have to be Miserable (Vol. 3 No. 2)
Patient and Family Resources
Snoring
Tips for the Mild Snorer or Occasional Snorer
How Common is Snoring?
What Causes Snoring?
If You Snore You May Be Suffering From:
Should I Worry About Snoring?
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Can Heavy Snoring Be Cured?
Sleep Apnea/Snoring Treatment
St. Joseph Hospital Sleep Disorders Center
What Is a Sleep Study
Understanding Sinuses
Common Sinus Procedures Performed
Videos

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What Is Rhinitis?



Rhinitis is a term describing the symptoms produced by nasal irritation or inflammation. Symptoms of rhinitis include runny nose, itching, sneezing and stuffy nose due to blockage or congestion. These symptoms are the nose's natural response to inflammation and irritation.
Arbitrarily, rhinitis lasting less than six weeks is called acute rhinitis, and persistent symptoms are called chronic rhinitis. Acute rhinitis is usually caused by infections or chemical irritation. Chronic rhinitis may be caused by allergy or a variety of other factors.

The nose normally produces mucus, which traps substances like dust, pollen, pollution, and germs such as bacteria and viruses. Mucus flows from the front of the nose and drains down the back of the throat, but when mucus production is excessive, it can flow from the front, as a runny nose, or become noticeable from the back, as post-nasal drip. Nasal mucus, normally a thin, clear liquid, can become thick or colored, perhaps due to dryness, infection or pollution. When post-nasal drip is excessive, thick, or contains irritating substances, cough is the natural response for clearing the throat.

Itching and sneezing are also natural responses to irritation caused by allergic reactions, chemical exposures (including cigarette smoke), temperature changes, infections and other factors.

The nasal tissues congest and decongest periodically. In most people, nasal congestion switches back and forth from one side to side of the nose to the other in cycles several hours long. Some people, especially those with narrow nasal passages, notice this nasal cycle more than others. Strenuous exercise or changes in head position can affect nasal congestion. Severe congestion can result in facial pressure and pain, as well as dark circles under the eyes.