What Is Rhinitis ?
Rhinitis is defined as an infectious disease in which the irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane occur inside the nose. This inflammation is caused by a bacterial or viral infection or by the attack of allergens or irritants.
Rhinitis is of three different types namely:
- Infectious rhinitis: Occurring due to bacterial or viral infection
- Non-allergic rhinitis: Drug-induced or due to environmental factors
- Allergic rhinitis: Caused by irritants or allergens
Allergic rhinitis is the most common among these 3 types. It is triggered by airborne allergens.
What Are The Symptoms Of Rhinitis ?
Common symptoms of rhinitis are:
- Sneezing, running nose
- Stuffy nose, nasal itching
- Watery eyes
- A cough, wheeze
- Swollen eyelids, headaches
What Are The Causes Of Rhinitis ?
Rhinitis is caused by viral or bacterial infection or by airborne allergens. Causes of rhinitis are mentioned below according to their types:
- Infectious rhinitis: This type of rhinitis is commonly caused by viral or bacterial infection. Common cold also causes infectious rhinitis.
- Non-allergic rhinitis: This type of rhinitis is not caused by infection or allergy but it can be due to certain medications, hormonal changes, occupation or environmental changes.
- Allergic rhinitis: This type of rhinitis is caused by exposure to airborne allergens such as pollens, mold, dust, animal dander etc.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Rhinitis ?
- Stay away from the cause if it is known.
- Keep your mouth and nose covered while going out.’
- Keep yourself and your living area clean to reduce the attacks of allergens.
- Regularly clean your nasal passage with a saltwater solution. This will help you keep your nose free of irritants and minimise the symptoms.
- Inhale steam to clear the excess mucus and irritants.
- Drink plenty of water to remove the toxins from the body.
- Keep your pets neat and clean to avoid exposure to animal dander.
- Limit outdoor activities during dusk and dawn.
- Take your medications regularly as prescribed to manage the symptoms.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Rhinitis ?
- Don’t over medicate to get fast relief as it may cause serious side effects.
- Don’t dry your clothes outside as it may attract pollens.
- Don’t touch your pet as this will increase the risk for allergy.
- Don’t ignore the symptoms and rush to the doctor if symptoms get worse.
- Avoid tobacco and smoking.
- Avoid alcohol consumption as it causes nasal blockage.
What Are The Best Foods For Rhinitis ?
- Green leafy vegetables: These are the good sources of vitamins and minerals and help to build strong immunity. Vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, carrot, cabbage should be added to your daily diet to complete the nutrition in your diet.
- Probiotics: These are anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic in nature. Yoghurt, Kefir, Miso soup, Tempeh are the best probiotics to avoid rhinitis.
- Vitamin C rich food: Vitamin c is supposed to anti-inflammatory and contains antioxidants which help in detoxification of the blood. It reduces the release of histamines. Oranges, berries, apples, watermelons are the good sources of vitamin C
- Omega-3 fatty acids: High consumption of omega -3 rich foods reduces the risk of rhinitis due to its anti-inflammatory action. Flax seeds, walnuts, soybeans, salmon, oysters, cod liver oil, cold fish, etc are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Quercetin rich food: Quercetin is also one of the best anti-inflammatory elements which reduce the risk of rhinitis. Broccoli, red grapes, cherries, raspberries, capers, red onions, etc are good sources of Quercetin.
What Are The Worst Foods For Rhinitis ?
- Gluten: Foods such as wheat, oats, and barley contains gluten which should be avoided. Gluten increases the mucus production leading to nasal blockage.
- Fried and processed foods: Fried and processed foods are rich in omega 6 fatty acids which increase inflammation. Whole grains, vegetable oils, nuts should be avoided to minimise the risk.
- Cold drinks and cold food: This type of food increases the spasm leading to a cough. These worsen the symptoms of rhinitis, hence should be avoided.
- Nuts, seeds and herbs: These contain ragweed, a type of pollen which triggers the rhinitis.
- Food preservatives: Preservatives are also responsible for exacerbating the allergic rhinitis. Artificial colours and flavours present in foods trigger the symptoms of rhinitis.
- Sugar: Eliminate sugar. It increases mucus production and worsens the symptoms.
- Dairy products: Dairy products contain lactose which tends to increase inflammation and mucus formation. Such products should be avoided to manage rhinitis.
- Alcohol: Alcohol consumption should be limited as it causes dehydration and increases congestion by stimulating the production of mucus.
What Are The Medicines For Rhinitis ?
What Are The Tips To Manage Rhinitis ?
Rhinitis can be managed by making some changes in your eating habits and lifestyle. Some home remedies are also beneficial in managing rhinitis and its symptoms. These are:
Ginger: This is a natural antihistamine, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral in nature. This helps in boosting the immune system and fighting signs of rhinitis. It can be chewed directly or can be taken with honey or boiled in the tea.
Saline water: Saline water helps to clear the nasal passage. Saline water can be prepared by mixing salt and baking soda in warm water.
Steam: Inhaling steam also reduces the symptoms of rhinitis. The essential oil should be mixed with boiling water and then inhaled to cure the symptoms.
Garlic: Garlic has the anti-inflammatory action which helps in reducing the inflammation during rhinitis. Eating 2-3 raw garlic cloves can protect from risk of rhinitis.
Apple cider vinegar: This is a natural remedy to boost the immune system and to reduce the worsening symptoms of rhinitis. It has antibacterial properties. It can be consumed with warm water or along with honey or lemon.
Turmeric: One of the oldest home remedies which have been used for centuries is the use of turmeric. It helps in reducing the inflammation and the risk of rhinitis through its anti-inflammatory action. It is powerful antioxidant also. It can be consumed with milk or honey.