Non-allergic rhinitis is a condition in which the lining of the nose swells because of blood vessels becoming engorged. The symptoms are similar to those of allergic rhinitis, but here there is no underlying allergy. People who suffer from allergic rhinitis develop symptoms when they are exposed to allergens such as tree and grass pollen. These symptoms are typically seasonal or regional.
In non-allergic rhinitis the symptoms, which may include a blocked or runny nose and headaches, may be present throughout the year. The condition may also be aggravated by irritants such as cigarette smoke, strong smells and perfumes, and changes in temperature. The other way to distinguish between allergic and non-allergic rhinitis is through allergy testing. Allergic rhinitis may occur together with other allergic conditions such as conjunctivitis (affecting the eyes), eczema and urticaria (affecting the skin), and asthma. The most effective treatment for non-allergic rhinitis is to avoid irritants as much as possible. Treatment may also include nasal sprays containing a salt solution or steroids. Decongestants should be used only for short periods, because prolonged use may cause rebound congestion.