If you have a watery, runny nose and itching in your nose, you may have rhinitis. Rhinitis is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting people in the United States. Ten to 30 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children experience the symptoms of rhinitis. The good news is there are things you can do to help your nose stop dripping.
Rhinitis occurs when the mucous membrane in the nose becomes inflamed. Other symptoms include sneezing and nasal congestion or stuffiness. There are two basic types of rhinitis: allergic rhinitis and non-allergic rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis occurs when something you are allergic to triggers a reaction in your nose and sinuses. Common allergens include:
• Plant pollens
• Dust mites
• Animal hair or dander
• Chemicals (including tobacco smoke)
• Insect stings or bites
When you encounter something that you are allergic to, your body’s immune system comes to your defense to get rid of whatever is bothering you. The body releases chemicals into your blood that trigger your blood vessels to open up, which in turn causes redness on the skin and swelling in the membranes. It’s this swelling in the mucous membranes in the nose that makes your nose runny and causes sneezing and congestion.
• Seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hayfever, usually happens in spring and summer. About 75 percent of all hayfever sufferers are allergic to ragweed which blooms at this time of year. Allergies in March and April are often due to tree pollens, while mold allergies typically show up in October and November when fallen leaves accumulate on the ground.
• Perennial allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction that occurs year round. Common causes are sensitivity to pet hair or dander, mold in the home, houseplants, carpeting, or upholstery.
Treatment for allergic rhinitis
If you have symptoms of allergic rhinitis, you can help your doctor identify the cause by keeping track of when your symptoms occur.