Allergens can often trigger your body to release a hormone known as histamine, which irritates the eyes, nose, and throat. This condition, called rhinitis, causes uncomfortable itching, swelling, and fluid to fill our sinuses.

There are two types of rhinitis, including allergic or seasonal rhinitis and nonallergic or year-round rhinitis.


The most common culprits of rhinitis include natural causes, like the pollen given off by trees, grass, and weeds. Dust mites, mold, and traces of bugs and animals can also cause rhinitis. 

Other causes include changes in temperature, fumes and odors, hormone transitions, smoke, and medicines. Some people may even react to certain spices or foods.


The side effects of rhinitis are similar to those of a sinus infection or cold. This includes:

  • Increased sneezing, congestion and stuffiness.
  • A runny nose.
  • Itchiness in the throat, eyes, ears, and nasal passages.
  • Nosebleeds
  • Recurring ear infections
  • Increased snoring and fatigue.


Rhinitis is confirmed through a physical exam. A doctor will look for dark circles or creases under the eyes, and feel for swollen tissues inside the nose. Individuals with asthma have a higher risk of suffering from rhinitis. Rhinitis can make it difficult to breath, worsening an asthmatic condition.

Prevention and Treatment

The best way to prevent rhinitis is to identify the allergens that cause particular symptoms and to avoid these allergens. Avoid areas with heavy dust, mold, or pet dander. However, no matter how much prevention is practiced, rhinitis can be difficult to prevent.

Fortunately, treatment is readily available in the form of antihistamines, nose sprays, and over-the-counter decongestants. A doctor may also prescribe allergy shots or prescription medications. Treatment for allergic rhinitis has been shown to be cost-effective and to have a significant positive impact for all age groups.

In adolescents, studies have shown overall quality of life improves 25 to 30 percent with treatment, and activity limitation improves 25 percent over a four-week period with the use of simple medications and avoidance of allergens.

© 2018 Intermountain Healthcare. All rights reserved. The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.