Rhinitis is the reaction your body has when something irritates the inner lining of the nose. It can be allergic, such as from pollen or animal dander, or a temporary irritation caused by a powerful odor, like pepper or perfume. Infectious rhinitis is caused by a virus, like the common cold, and usually clears up on its own.

Symptoms of rhinitis interfere with daily life, sleeping, and overall comfort, and include sneezing, burning or itchy nose, excess nasal discharge, nasal blockage, headaches, and itchy, watery eyes. When rhinitis is left untreated, it can cause facial pain and anosmia.

Treatment for rhinitis depends on the cause. If possible, patients should avoid triggers for rhinitis or take an over-the-counter antihistamine in anticipation of exposure. Non-pharmaceutical tools, such as masks, air purifiers, pillow covers, humidifiers, plastic covers, and certain pet baths can also be useful for reducing reactions to specific allergens.

If rhinitis continues, medication might be necessary to treat the problem. Nasal sprays, oral steroids, prescription antihistamines, decongestants, mucus thinning agents, and immunotherapy can also be extremely effective for reducing or eliminating the symptoms of rhinitis.