Medical Specialties: Family practice, Otolaryngology

Clinical Definition

Rhinitis is an inflammation of the nasal mucosa. Rhinitis is usually classified as either infectious, allergic or non-allergic. The mucus membranes may become irritated and inflamed due to allergies, viruses and bacteria. Allergic rhinitis is the most common type of rhinitis. 

In Our Own Words

Rhinitis is an inflammation and irritation of the mucus membranes inside the nose. When the lining becomes irritated, excess mucus and swelling can develop. There are different causes of rhinitis and the condition may be either acute or chronic. For example, allergic rhinitis is a common type of rhinitis. It occurs when the immune system overreacts to a substance it views as harmful. As a result, chemicals called histamines are released and can trigger rhinitis symptoms. Rhinitis can also be caused by infections, such as the common cold. 

Relevant Conditions
  • Allergy
  • Common cold
Common Types
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Non-allergic rhinitis
Side Effects
  • Itching in the nose
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
Share this article
  • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Rhinitis. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/rhinitis.aspx. Accessed October 2013.
  • Cleveland Clinic. Rhinitis. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/head-neck/diseases-conditions/rhinitis.aspx. Accessed October 2013.
  • American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head & Neck Surgery. Fact Sheet: Allergic Rhinitis, Sinusitis and Rhinosinusitis. http://www.entnet.org/healthinformation/rhinitis.cfm. Accessed October 2013.
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