Types of Nasal Inflammation

man holding bridge of nose
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Nasal inflammation can be caused by allergies or other conditions and irritants.

You may have more than one type of nasal inflammation. For instance, you could have nasal allergies complicated by a nonallergic nasal inflammation, nasal polyps, or a nose deformity such as a deviated septum. Only your doctor can accurately diagnose whether allergies or something else is causing your nasal symptoms. However, the chart below can help:

 

Type Triggers/Causes Symptoms Duration
Allergic


Seasonal Pollen, some molds Runny nose, congestion, sneezing, watery, itchy eyes, postnasal drip Seasonal (spring, summer, fall, winter) in most climates
Perennial (year-round) Dust mites, cockroaches, pet dander, mold spores Runny nose, congestion, sneezing. postnasal drip, watery, itchy eyes All year as long as allergens are present
Nonallergic


Irritant (vasomotor) Fumes, perfumes, cleaning products, cigarette smoke, weather, stress, some types of medications, sometimes unknown Runny nose, congestion, less sneezing and itching All year whenever irritants are present
Eosinophilic Blood cell reaction, changes in the environment Runny nose, congestion, less sneezing and itching As long as substance causing symptoms present
Neutrophilic Blood cell reaction, sinus infections, other infections Runny nose, congestion, less sneezing and itching As long as infection present
Structural Deformity, damage to nose Runny nose, congestion, less sneezing and itching As long as deformity or injury present
Hormonal Pregnancy or hypothyroidism Runny nose and more congestion than other forms of nasal inflammation Second month to term for pregnancy-related, or until thyroid condition is treated
Infectious (cold/flu) Cold/flu viruses Runny nose, congestion, less sneezing and itching, fever, muscle aches 7 to 10 days

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Written by Karen Serrano, MD
Emergency Medicine resident at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Reviewed by Lisa V. Suffian, MD
Instructor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine at Saint Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine
Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, Saint Louis University
Board certified in Allergy and Immunology

Last updated June 2008