Allergic Rhinitis and Non-Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is a condition that affects the nose and this usually happens when you are allergic to things that irritate your nose. Non-Allergic rhinitis has symptoms that are similar to allergic rhinitis. However, non-allergic rhinitis is caused by changes in temperature or when you breathe in smoke or certain perfumes.

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What is Allergic Rhinitis and Non-Allergic Rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis is a condition that affects the nose and this usually happens when you are allergic to things that irritate your nose. Examples of such things include dust, dust mites, wood dust and pollen. These are known as “allergens”.

When you breathe in the allergen, your body releases chemicals which can cause allergy symptoms. The swelling of sinuses (also known as sinusitis) or ear infections can happen due to these allergies.

Non-Allergic rhinitis has symptoms that are similar to allergic rhinitis. However, non-allergic rhinitis is caused by changes in temperature or when you breathe in smoke or certain perfumes. Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy or puberty can also cause symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis.

What are the symptoms of allergic and non-allergic rhinitis?

They include:

  • Frequent sneezing (most often in the morning)

  • Blocked or stuffy nose

  • Runny and itchy nose (usually with clear and thin mucus)

  • Red, itchy and watery eyes

  • Mucus in the throat due to mucus dripping from the back of the nose

  • Ears, nose and throat may become dry

  • Headache

What can you do to prevent these symptoms?

  • Avoid the allergens.

    • Some allergens may be difficult to avoid (e.g. dust/dust mites). Try wearing a face mask when you are in contact with increased dust particles (e.g. when you do housework)

    • Avoid spicy food in non-allergic rhinitis as it may cause rhinitis symptoms.

  • Blow your nose regularly. Gently blow your nose if there are mucus or irritants present.

  • Use a humidifier to help loosen the mucus in your nose

  • Avoid sudden temperature changes

What treatment is there for allergic and non-allergic rhinitis?

Antihistamines

Antihistamines can help to relieve itchy and runny nose as well as frequent sneezing. Common antihistamines include cetirizine, loratidine and chlorpheniramine.

Decongestants

Decongestants reduce swelling around the nasal area and this helps to relieve congestion. Nasal congestion results in you having a stuffy or blocked nose. Decongestants come in oral and nasal spray forms. Common oral decongestants include pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine. Common nasal spray decongestants include naphazoline and oxymetazoline. You should not use your decongestant nasal spray for more than 3 days in a row as long-term use can cause the congestion to worsen.

Steroid Nasal Sprays

Steroid nasal sprays decrease swelling around the nasal area and reduces symptoms of allergy. Common nasal sprays include steroids such as fluticasone, mometasone and budesonide. Some nasal sprays can be bought from a pharmacist while others need a doctor’s prescription.

What are the common doses for nasal sprays?

Avamys

For those aged 11 years old and above:

  • It is normally started as 2 sprays in each nostril once a day. It can be reduced to 1 spray in each nostril once a day for maintenance.

For those aged 6-11years old:

  • The normal dose is 1 spray in each nostril once a day, but you may use up to 2 sprays if not effective. The maintenance dose is 1 spray in each nostril once a day.

Nasonex

For those aged 11 years old and above:

  • The normal dose is 2 sprays in each nostril two times a day and reduced to 1 spray in each nostril once a day for maintenance.

For those aged 2-11years old

  • The normal dose is 1 spray in each nostril once a day.

Rhinocort (64mcg)

For those aged 6 years old and above:

  • The normal dose is 2 sprays in each nostril two times a day. It can be reduced to 1 spray in each nostril once a day.

Frequently Asked Questions about Nasal Sprays

a. What are the common side effects of using steroid nasal sprays?

The common side effects are slight discomfort or irritation in the nose. These side effects are usually not serious and are temporary. They are normally limited to a certain area. To reduce these side effects, you should always use the correct nasal spray in the way you are taught. You should aim the spray away from the nose bone that separates the two nostrils. If these side effects become inconvenient or worse, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist.

b. Can I use it only when necessary such as when I develop symptoms?

Steroid sprays need to be used regularly to prevent the symptoms of allergic and non-allergic rhinitis. Therefore, you should use the sprays regularly as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist unless they advise you differently.

c. Can I use this nasal steroid spray for a long time?

Steroid nasal sprays are designed to provide medicine directly to your nasal area and the medicine is usually not absorbed into the body as long as you use the correct technique. Steroid nasal sprays are usually safe for long-term use. Your doctor will also monitor you for any side effects if you need to use the nasal spray for a long time.

d. I feel a bitter taste in my mouth whenever I use the nasal spray, is this normal?

The bitter taste happens because you breathe in the steroid spray too hard. This causes the medicine to flow down the throat and into the mouth instead of staying in the nose. To prevent this from happening, you should lower your head slightly and breathe in normally when spraying.

e. How long can I keep my nasal sprays if I have opened it?

The nasal sprays should not be kept for more than 2 months after you open it. If you use the nasal spray regularly, the nasal sprays should not last for more than 2 months.

f. The nasal spray doesn’t seem to be working. I don’t feel anything when I spray it.

There are a few possibilities:

  1. It is possible that you did not press the nasal spray properly. You must press the nasal spray hard enough or all the way down during use, to see a fine mist spraying out.

  2. The mist may be too fine to be easily felt when you spray it.

  3. The nasal spray is empty. If the nasal spray is not empty and there is no fine mist coming out when you press it, please check with your pharmacist.

  4. The nasal spray is not working properly. You should check with your pharmacist to get a possible replacement.

This article answers some common questions about this medicine. It does not contain all the available information. It also does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.

PH012-001-E-0117-V3

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Allergic Rhinitis and Non-Allergic Rhinitis

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