Chronic Rhinitis and Post-Nasal Drip

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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How can chronic rhinitis and post-nasal drip be treated?

The treatment is generally directed towards the underlying cause.

Identifying and avoiding allergens

An allergy is an exaggerated "normal body" inflammatory response to an outside substance. These substances that cause allergies are called allergens, and typically include

  • pollen,
  • mold,
  • animal dander (cats and dogs),
  • house dust,
  • dust mites and cockroaches, and
  • some foods.

The best treatment is avoidance of these allergens, but in many cases this may be very difficult if not impossible. Some helpful suggestions include:

  • Use a pollen mask when mowing the grass or cleaning the house.
  • Install an air purifier or at least change the air filters monthly in heating and air conditioning systems.
  • Use cotton or synthetic materials such as Dacron in pillows and bedding.
  • Enclose mattress in plastic.
  • Select dust-mite proof pillow covers.
  • Consider using a humidifier.
  • Keep windows closed during high pollen times.
  • Eliminate house plants.
  • bathe pets frequently or do not adopt or purchase dander-producing pets.

Avoidance of nasal irritants: Nasal irritants usually do not lead to the typical immune response seen with classical allergies, but nevertheless they can mimic or make allergies worse, as in vasomotor rhinitis. Examples of these irritants include cigarette smoke, perfume, aerosol sprays, smoke, smog and car exhaust.

Possible allergens may be identified by a very careful history taken by a health-care professional. Details of the patient's possible exposure to allergens or irritants at home or the workplace may give clues. An allergy specialist (allergy and immunologist) can perform skin tests to try to identify common environmental allergies.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/22/2015
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