Nonallergic Rhinitis

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Nonallergic rhinitis, also called vasomotor rhinitis, is a condition characterized by 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 identifiable allergic reaction involved.

Although nonallergic rhinitis is more annoying than harmful, it can make you miserable. Triggers of nonallergic rhinitis include certain odors or irritants in the air, changes in the weather, some medications, certain foods, and chronic health conditions.

SYMPTOM CHECKER 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 — signs and symptoms associated with allergies such as hay fever.

A diagnosis of nonallergic rhinitis is generally made based on your symptoms and by ruling out other causes, especially allergies. You may need to undergo allergy testing, which may involve skin or blood tests. Your doctor also may look inside your nasal passages and sinus cavities to make sure your symptoms aren’t caused by a problem such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps. This is done with a thin, fiber-optic viewing instrument called an endoscope.


Treatment of nonallergic rhinitis depends on how much it bothers you. For mild cases, home treatment and avoiding triggers may be enough. For more-bothersome signs and symptoms, certain medications may provide relief.

  • Saline nasal sprays. Use an over-the-counter saline nasal spray or homemade saltwater solution to flush the nose of irritants and help thin the mucus and soothe the membranes in your nose.
  • Corticosteroid nasal sprays. It helps prevent and treat inflammation associated with some types of nonallergic rhinitis.
  • Antihistamine nasal sprays. Oral antihistamines don’t seem to help nonallergic rhinitis, but an antihistamine in the form of a nasal spray may reduce symptoms in some people.
  • Oral decongestants. Over-the-counter drugs containing helps narrow blood vessels, reducing congestion in the nose.


These tips can help reduce discomfort and relieve the symptoms of nonallergic rhinitis. For people with mild symptoms, self-care may be all the treatment that’s needed.

  • Rinse your nasal passages. Nasal irrigation involves rinsing out your sinuses with a salt-and-water solution. You can use a neti pot or a specially designed squeeze bottle to flush out thickened mucus and irritants from your nose. When performed daily, this is one of the most effective treatments for nonallergic rhinitis. Rinse the device after each use with distilled or sterile water and leave open to air-dry.
  • Humidify. Set up a humidifier at home or work. Breathe in the steam from a warm shower to help loosen the mucus.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Avoid caffeinated beverages, which can cause dehydration and aggravate your symptoms.
  • Avoid your triggers. If you are able to identify things that cause or worsen your symptoms, try to avoid them.

             Excerpt From: The Mayo Clinic. “Mayo Clinic A to Z Health Guide”.

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