Symptoms of allergic rhinitis

November 12, 2012

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis

Rhinitis is an inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the nose. This may be the result of a cold, infection or an allergy.

Allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis occurs when allergens are breathed in through the nose – it may develop immediately or some hours later and the rhinitis symptoms generally last for a period of more than ten days.

Symptoms of rhinitis

There is a wide range of rhinitis symptoms, sufferers may experience some or all of them, the most common rhinitis symptoms include –

  • Repeated sneezing – particularly on waking

  • Runny nose – unless an infection is present the mucus resulting from an allergic reaction is clear and thin.

  • Postnasal drip – this may feel more like a throat tickle and cause you feel as though you need to clear your throat.

  • Watery itchy eyes

  • Itchy ears, nose and throat

Other rhinitis symptoms which may take longer to develop include -

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Fatigue – often resulting from disturbed sleep

  • Stuffy nose accompanied by a constant need to sniff

  • Altered sense of smell

  • Breathing through the mouth resulting in dry mouth and a foul taste

  • Persistent cough

  • Pressure in the ears, a feeling of hearing being muffled

  • Face pain

  • Persistent rubbing of the nose in an upward direction or at the bridge

  • Altered sense of smell

  • Dark circles/patches under the eyes

  • Sinus problems

Other factors

Anyone who suffers regularly with rhinitis symptoms will usually be a life-long sufferer, symptoms may seem worse at times and occasionally it seems that certain allergens produce less symptoms as the patient ages.

Rhinitis symptoms which only occur at certain times of the year may have a seasonal link and are likely to include excessive sneezing, runny nose, and watery, itchy eyes.

Rhinitis symptoms which are present year round will include the postnasal drip effect, stuffy and runny nose as well as excessive sneezing.


There are probably as many triggers for allergic rhinitis as there are sufferers of the condition, and a trigger which may affect one person may not affect another, however there are a wide range of common triggers some of which can be avoided, some which cannot – in which case the only answer is to learn to treat and manage the condition in order to avoid reduced quality of life.

General triggers include -

  • Air pollutants

  • Diesel fumes

  • Tobacco smoke

  • Insecticides

  • Strong odour or perfume

  • Dust mites

  • Animal dander

  • Mold

Women who are pregnant may notice a worsening of their symptoms including deterioration in any asthma or sinusitis, a medical practitioner may advise a change of medication for the duration of the pregnancy.

Some medical conditions have symptoms which are very similar to allergic rhinitis including respiratory infections, nasal defects and non-allergic rhinitis.


Treatment for allergic rhinitis usually involves the use of anti-histamine medication and eye or nose drops which may be steroid based and therefore not suitable for long term use.


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