Rhinitis

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rhinitis

[rī′nīd·əs]
(medicine)
Inflammation of the mucous membranes in the nose.

Rhinitis

 

inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose. It may be a self-contained disease or a symptom of acute catarrh of the upper respiratory tract, influenza, and other infectious diseases; it may also be the result of injury to a mucous membrane.

Acute rhinitis as a self-contained disease (the common cold) generally occurs in wet and cold weather. The causative agents are various microbes (streptococci, staphylococci, pneumococci) and viruses. The predisposing factors are general and local chilling and mechanical and chemical irritants. Acute rhinitis usually ends with recovery. Complications (diseases of the paranasal sinuses, inflammation of the middle ear) are comparatively rare. Treatment includes sudorific agents (tea with raspberries), acetylsalicylic acid or aminophenazone when there is fever, nose drops (1 percent menthol oil, 1–3 percent ephedrine solution) to facilitate nasal breathing, and revulsive agents (mustard plasters applied to the feet and hot leg baths). Prevention includes the building up of natural resistance from early childhood.

Chronic rhinitis results from the repeated recurrence of acute rhinitis. It is manifested by constant thick discharges from the nose, obstruction of nasal breathing, and a decreased sense of smell. Treatment includes physical therapy, lubrication of the nasal mucosa, and the use of nose drops. Prevention includes the elimination of the causes of recurrent acute rhinitis.

A particular form of rhinitis is allergic, or anaphylactic, rhinitis, which is an allergic reaction to dust and to pollen when certain plants are in bloom (for example, hay fever). The disease is characterized by intermittent attacks marked by itching in the nose, frequent sneezing, copious watery discharges, and nasal obstruction. Treatment includes the administration of antiallergic agents and the detection and elimination of the allergen.

L. V. NEIMAN

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