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Non-Allergic Rhinitis

Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team

Updated on

What is non-allergic rhinitis?

Non-allergic rhinitis is the medical term for inflammation of the lining of the nose which is not caused by an allergy. Inflammation of the inside of the nose causes swelling, blockage and the production of more fluid than usual. There are multiple possible causes, but the most common is a viral infection. Besides a blocked and runny nose, symptoms may include face pain and sneezing. Some people may find their symptoms only last a number of days, others may find their symptoms persist for weeks or months. Treatment depends on the cause, but many people find that the symptoms are helped by breathing warm, humid air, using decongestant sprays and taking anti-inflammatory medications. In most cases, the symptoms will get better without specific treatment. If there is a known cause, this should be treated or avoided. Most people will have no further problems as a result of non-allergic rhinitis.


Non-allergic rhinitis is a medical term for inflammation inside the nose which isn't caused by an allergy. Inflammation causes the lining of the nose to swell and create more fluid (snot) than usual. There are several possible causes for this condition, including viral infections, dust, some medications, some hormone disorders and weather changes.


The main symptom of non-allergic rhinitis is a persistently blocked or runny nose. This may be short-term (days) or long-term (over weeks to months), depending on the cause. Non-allergic rhinitis may also cause face pain, sneezing, a sore nose or a crust to form around the nostrils. The blocked nose may lead to a reduced sense of smell and taste.


The diagnosis is usually based on the symptoms and a physical examination. An allergy test can rule out the diagnosis of an allergic rhinitis.


In most cases, treating non-allergic rhinitis involves managing the symptoms. This may be by using decongestant medications, anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, and or by breathing in warm, humid air. However, if the rhinitis becomes persistent, the underlying cause should be found and treated.


Prevention of non-allergic rhinitis includes identifying and avoiding things that make the rhinitis worse. Practicing good hygiene by washing hands regularly and covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, can be helpful in preventing the spread of viral infections and non-allergic rhinitis. If a medication is found to the cause, this may be able to be stopped or replaced with a medication which does not have this side effect.

Other names for non-allergic rhinitis

  • Vasomotor rhinitis

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