Rhinitis is the fancy medical term for inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose, triggered by a viral infection or by allergic reaction. It results in symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, itching, congestion, etc. There’s also the dreaded post-nasal drip to deal with. This condition may also involve headache, fatigue, cognitive impairment, and sleep disturbance, which lead to significant detriments in quality of life and performance at school or work.
Rhinitis happens to be one of the most frequently reported conditions in the United States. It’s important to distinguish between allergic and non-allergic rhinitis. In certain medical studies, among patients who demonstrated rhinitis symptoms, between 10-40% of patients actually suffered from allergic rhinitis.
The problem that arises is that rhinitis is often treated the same way, without determining whether it is allergic or non-allergic. In another study, a group of patients with rhinitis were each prescribed non-sedating antihistamines. But only 35% of those patients were found to have allergic rhinitis. If your math is good, the other 65% had the non-allergic variety.
Here’s the kicker — non-sedating antihistamines are not typically effective in relieving non-allergic rhinitis symptoms.
This brings up two questions:
- Why would you treat an allergic and non-allergic rhinitis same way, especially knowing that allergic rhinitis can lead to worse allergic conditions?
- How do you determine the root cause of the rhinitis, in order to know how to treat it.
The short answer is by using an Allergen-specific IgE Blood Test like our MD Allergy Pro. We’ll address diagnostic test this in further detail in a coming post.
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