Nonallergic rhinitis

Nonallergic rhinitis involves chronic sneezing or having a congested, drippy nose with no apparent cause. The symptoms of nonallergic rhinitis are similar to those of hay fever (allergic rhinitis), but there's no identified allergic reaction involved. Nonallergic rhinitis can affect children and adults, but is more common after age 20.

Although nonallergic rhinitis is more annoying than harmful, it can make you miserable. Triggers of nonallergic rhinitis symptoms vary and can include certain odors or irritants in the air, changes in the weather, some medications, certain foods, and chronic health conditions. A diagnosis of nonallergic rhinitis is made after an allergic cause is ruled out. This may require allergy skin or blood tests.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

If you have nonallergic rhinitis, you probably have symptoms that come and go year-round. You may have constant symptoms, symptoms that last for hours or symptoms that last for days. Signs and symptoms of nonallergic rhinitis may include:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Mucus (phlegm) in the throat (postnasal drip)

Nonallergic rhinitis doesn't usually cause itchy nose, eyes or throat — symptoms associated with allergies such as hay fever.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if:

  • Your symptoms are severe
  • You have signs and symptoms of nonallergic rhinitis that aren't relieved by over-the-counter medications or self-care
  • You have bothersome side effects from over-the-counter or prescription medications for rhinitis

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