November 26, 2015
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Chronic Rhinitis (cont.)

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What are other options for the treatment of rhinitis and post-nasal drip?

Treatment can also be directed towards specific causes of rhinitis and post-nasal drip as outlined below.

Treatment of infection

The most common nasal infection is a viral infection known as "the common cold." The virus causes swelling of the nasal membranes and production of thick clear mucus. Symptoms usually last several days. If "a cold" goes on for many days and is associated with yellow or green drainage, it may have become secondarily infected by bacteria. Very few patients with a common cold from a virus will go on to have acute bacterial rhinosinusitis from sinus blockage and impaired sinus function. Sinus blockage can lead to acute sinusitis (less than 4 weeks in duration) or chronic sinusitis (lasting 12 weeks with continuous symptoms), which can be characterized by nasal congestion, thick mucus, and facial or dental pain. From 4 to 12 weeks, the symptoms are classified as subacute sinusitis or recurrent acute sinusitis.

Symptomatic treatment often involves pain relief, decongestants, mucous thinning medications, saline rinses, and anti-histamine therapy.

Reflux Medications

For rhinitis that is a result of acid reflux disease, antacids (Maalox, Mylanta) can help to neutralize acid contents, whereas other medications such as cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), omeprazole (Prilosec), esomeprazole (Nexium)] can decrease stomach acid production. Non-pharmacological treatments include avoiding late evening meals and snacks and elimination of alcohol and caffeine. Elevating the head of the bed may help decrease reflux during sleep.


Structural problems with the nose and sinuses may ultimately require surgical correction to cure them. This should be done only after more conservative measures have been tried and failed. Septal deviation, septal spurs, septal perforation, enlargement of the turbinates, and nasal/sinus polyps can lead to pooling of or overproduction of secretions, blockage of the normal pathways leading to chronic sinusitis, and chronic irritation. The surgery is performed by an ear-nose-throat doctor (otolaryngologist). Surgery can also enhance the delivery of nasal medications and rinses into the nasal cavities.


American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. "Post-Nasal Drip." Oct 16, 2015

CDC. "Is Rinsing Safe?" Sep 4. 2014

Peden, D. MD. "An Overview of Rhinitis."

Price D, Bond C, Bouchard J, Costa R, Keenan J, Levy ML, Orru M, Ryan D, Walker S, Watson M.; International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG) Guidelines: management of allergic rhinitis; Prim Care Respir J. 2006 Feb;15(1):58-70. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

Dion GR, Weitzel EK, McMains KC. Current approaches to diagnosis and management of rhinitis. South Med J. 2013 Sep;106(9):526-31 Greiner AN, Hellings PW, Rotiroti G, Scadding GK. Allergic rhinitis. Lancet. 2011 Dec 17;378(9809):2112-22. Levy ML, Fletcher M, Price DB, Hausen T, Halbert RJ, Yawn BP; International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG) Guidelines: diagnosis of respiratory diseases in primary care; Prim Care Respir J. 2006 Feb;15(1):20-34. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

Halbert RJ, Isonaka S.; International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG) Guidelines: integrating diagnostic guidelines for managing chronic respiratory diseases in primary care; Prim Care Respir J. 2006 Feb;15(1):13-9. Epub 2006 Jan 18.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/22/2015


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