summary of rhinitis

Rhinitis or nasal congestion is an infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract, mainly in the nasal mucosa.
Rhinitis is mainly caused by viruses and is very common in autumn, winter and early spring, it is often associated with the common cold .

More than 200 different types of viruses can cause rhinitis, note the difference with the flu, which is caused by the influenza virus.
Some factors can, directly or indirectly, promote the development of rhinitis, such as cold, stress or humidity.
It is a highly contagious infection that is transmitted by sneezing, coughing (droplet transmission) or even during a handshake.

The typical symptoms of rhinitis start with a liquid and clear nasal discharge, then it becomes thicker and purulent, this usually appears after a few days and this is when the nose becomes blocked.

Different types of treatment can be used to solve rhinitis, such as local vasoconstrictors (spray, drip), antihistamines or oral vasoconstrictors. In case of fever, it is advisable to take painkillers such as paracetamol. Saline solution (saline solution) also has a very interesting therapeutic and preventive effect (including against sinusitis).

Medicinal plants such as thyme (inhalation, tea, essential oil), elderberry or eucalyptus can complement the treatment.

Drinking plenty of fluids, eating healthily, consuming vitamin C or humidifying the ambient air are some useful tips for preventing and treating rhinitis.


Rhinitis (nasal congestion, runny nose) is a disorder that affects the upper respiratory tract and especially the nose.

The nasal cavities and sinuses continually secrete a liquid that keeps the mucosa moist, this liquid prevents the entry of infectious agents, moistens and warms the inspired air. It is then transported by the cilia, which bring the mucus inward.

When the mucosa is irritated (effect of the virus, for example), it swells, increasing the secretion of liquid to “expel” the virus and, reducing the free space dedicated to the flow of mucus, which causes rhinitis.

We can then observe a sensation of nasal obstruction throughout the area, which is quite unpleasant.

We distinguish allergic rhinitis (see also: difference between seasonal and allergic rhinitis) from seasonal. The latter is usually related to a virus and is very common in autumn, winter and early spring. It is often associated with the common cold.

The cold is not a serious illness.


The causes of a rhinitis are of viral origin ( rhinovirus ), of which there are about 200 different types. They invade the nasal mucosa cells and cause rhinitis.

Note that, as with colds (rhinitis is a possible symptom of the cold), it is not the cold itself that is responsible for rhinitis, but the virus, as we saw above. The cold favors the development of the virus and especially due to the weakening of the immune system.

It should be noted that, in addition to the cold, stress and humidity can favor the onset or development of rhinitis.

This means that by stimulating the immune system with echinacea tea or taking vitamin C, we will reduce stress as a means of preventing rhinitis.

This is a highly contagious infection that is spread by sneezing or coughing (transmission in fine droplets) or sometimes, even during a handshake, indirectly.

Since these viruses are not affected by antibiotics , bacterial superinfection (as in bacterial sinusitis, for example) does not occur.

In rhinitis without bacterial superinfection, the only thing we can do is treat the symptoms.

Not enough sleep increases the risk of catching a cold
In August 2015, a study conducted by the University of California (San Francisco) published in the journal Sleep, showed that participants who slept less than six hours a night were 4.2 times more likely to catch a cold than those who get more than seven hours of sleep. Volunteers who slept less than five hours a night were 4.5 times more likely to get sick. To reach these conclusions, the scientists administered the flu virus via nasal drops to the participants, taking samples daily for a week to see if the virus was developing.

Diffusion of
Rhinoviruses Rhinoviruses, cold (and rhinitis) viruses, do not seem to be necessarily dependent on cold, dry weather to spread, unlike the flu (influenza) virus which often leads to epidemics during temperatures of 0°C or lower in dry weather, according to a study carried out in 2016 by the Sahlgrenska hospital in Sweden and published in the specialized journal Journal of Clinical Virology.


Typical symptoms of rhinitis are:

– At first, the runny nose is liquid and clear and then the liquid becomes thick and purulent. This usually appears after a few days and this is when the nose gets stuffy;

– Rhinitis can be associated with sneezing and other typical cold symptoms (fever, pain, burning nose, sore throat…).

– A (seasonal) rhinitis lasts from 7 to 10 days.

Consult your doctor if rhinitis is associated with high and lasting fever, is associated with sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses), if rhinitis lasts longer than 10 days and in case of breathing problems.

A rhinitis in a newborn or infant can sometimes lead to serious complications. The newborn may also have difficulty feeding on breast milk.

Difference between seasonal rhinitis (nasal congestion) and allergic rhinitis (hay fever)

appearance of symptoms

– Seasonal rhinitis and allergic rhinitis are characterized in both cases by symptoms: nasal congestion, runny nose, red eyes, tiredness and headaches.
However, seasonal rhinitis produces symptoms one after the other, that is, first there is tiredness, then a runny nose,…

Seasonal rhinitis and allergic rhinitis are characterized in both cases by symptoms: nasal congestion, runny nose, red eyes, tiredness and headaches.

However, the symptoms of allergic rhinitis appear together.

duration of symptoms

– The duration of seasonal rhinitis is usually 7 to 10 days.

– The duration of allergic rhinitis is the time of exposure to the allergen, it is said that the duration is undetermined.

mucus discharge

– Seasonal rhinitis can cause a yellow mucus discharge, especially a few days after the onset of rhinitis, which is a sign of infection.

– Allergic rhinitis usually causes clear discharge and a lot of liquid.


– Less common.

– Sneezing is a typical symptom of allergic rhinitis, especially when it happens two or three times in succession.

period of the year

Seasonal rhinitis is more common during the winter months (June to August)

Allergic rhinitis is more frequent in spring, due to pollination.

presence of fever

Seasonal rhinitis may be associated with fever .

Allergic rhinitis is usually not associated with fever.


The diagnosis of colds is usually based on an observation of the symptoms. The physician’s aim is primarily to exclude allergic rhinitis. In some cases, the doctor may use an endoscope, especially to rule out or confirm nasal polyps.


How to treat rhinitis?

To treat rhinitis we have different relatively effective medicines:

– Local vasoconstrictors (based on xylometazoline, for example) that effectively treat the symptoms of rhinitis. They are used in the form of sprays when the nose is blocked (Attention Do not use the spray for more than 10 days, unless indicated by the doctor, as this medicine can cause rhinitis after that time, setting up a vicious circle) ;

– Antihistamines, for example, when there is a runny nose (liquid);

– Oral vasoconstrictors (containing pseudoephedrine, for example). Attention in case of hypertension. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist as there is a risk of side effects;

– Medicines composed of several molecules for the treatment of rhinitis and pain. There are different preparations, talk to a pharmacist;

– Acetylsalicylic acid (adult dose: 500 mg, 3 times a day). This medicine delays the development of rhinitis and also acts as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic;

Beware of side effects and interactions with acetylsalicylic acid. If in doubt, ask a pharmacist.

– Saline solutions ( saline solution ) are used for nasal washing. Different saline solutions are available at the pharmacy. You can also prepare saline solution see the recipe;

– Nasal ointment: to moisturize the nasal mucosa, which is usually very dry after rhinitis. Different nasal ointments are available from pharmacies.

– Corticosteroid nasal spray. Some prescription medications, such as fluticasone or mometasone, are sometimes used during colds to prevent and treat inflammation.

Use of antibiotics:
– In cases of acute nasopharyngitis (cold) in children, the French High Health Authority recalled in a statement in November 2016 that the prescription of antibiotics is not necessary.

natural treatment

Medicinal plants that have a favorable effect against rhinitis

– Eucalyptus , for use mainly in the form of essential oil to make inhalations;

– Thyme (thymus), for use mainly in the form of essential oil to make inhalations.

– Elderberry (flower), mainly for use as a tea (for example in children) or adults in the most effective form as a mother tincture or even in capsules.

home remedies

– Thyme inhalation

– saline solution


We distinguish the advice to treat rhinitis and to prevent.

Good advice to quickly treat rhinitis

– Drink plenty of water, more than 1 liter per day, in the form of fruit juice and preferably in the form of tea;

– Eat lots of foods rich in vitamin C, or take medications or food supplements rich in vitamin C and/or zinc;

– Get enough sleep (increases the defense of the immune system);

– Moisten the nasal mucosa with saline solution;

– Drink hot drinks;

– Inhalation of hot vapors (with or without essential oils), for example, based on thyme;

– Sometimes in rhinitis the mucous membrane becomes dry, feel free to apply a moisturizing nasal ointment (various nasal ointments are available in pharmacies).

Tips to prevent rhinitis

1. Wash your hands

Most rhinitis, colds and flu are spread by direct contact.

For example, a person who is sick, and who has the virus in his hands (when he is going to contain a sneeze, for example), can pass through the contact to a telephone, keyboard or a window.

Germs can live for hours. So wash your hands, this way we also kill germs. Rub your hands together vigorously and for at least a minute.

2. Don’t touch your nose with your hands

As mentioned earlier, germs stay on your hands. It is highly recommended to blow your nose into a handkerchief, or cough into a handkerchief. This is a good way to keep germs away.

3. Don’t touch your face with your hands

Influenza, rhinitis and cold viruses enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth.

4. Drink plenty of fluids

Water cleans your body! This saying is true, in fact, drinking plenty of fluids (1.5 liters a day) helps to eliminate poisons, bacteria and other viruses, in addition to hydrating the body. We can consider that water “dilutes” the germs and this allows for a faster elimination.

5. Go to sauna

The research is still unclear. However, it is believed that going to the sauna twice a week would halve the likelihood of catching a cold (including rhinitis) or the flu.

One theory is that with the sauna you inhale hot air at 80°C and this high temperature would kill the virus.

6. Breathe in fresh air

This may seem paradoxical, but fresh air can improve resistance to cold. Especially in the winter months, the body is very vulnerable to the cold.

7. Do physical exercises

Do physical exercise regularly (sports or walking), as it helps to develop the immune system (defense system) and to be more resistant and therefore fight more effectively against invaders (viruses and bacteria).

8. Eat fruits and vegetables

Natural molecules called “phyto” are found in fruits and vegetables. The “phyto” include vitamins, carotenoids, …These contribute to strengthen the defenses of the human body.

9. Eat yogurt

Studies have shown that eating yogurt once a day can reduce the likelihood of catching a cold or rhinitis by 25%. It is believed that the bacteria in yogurt can stimulate the immune (defense) system.

10. Don’t smoke

By smoking we paralyze the eyelashes in the nose. Less germs are retained and then the body weakens. Experts believe that smoking a cigarette can paralyze eyelashes for 30-40 minutes.

11. Reduce alcohol consumption

Large amounts of alcohol destroy the liver which is one of the main organs responsible for eliminating germs. In addition, alcohol causes dehydration of the organism and its use is contrary to the prevention of the flu.

12. Relax regularly!

Relaxation is very important. Studies have shown that relaxing can activate the immune system. In fact, interleukins, important molecules in the defense system against flu, rhinitis and colds, are found in greater proportions in the blood stream. You then increase your defenses.

13. Hydrate the airways

Keeping the airways always hydrated prevents diseases (with saline solution, for example), prevents respiratory diseases.

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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