How To Treat Nonallergic Rhinitis

Nonallergic rhinitis is a common complaint that affects more than 50 million people in the US alone, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Both adults and children can develop the condition. The symptoms are similar to those seen in allergic rhinitis, including congestion and a runny nose. The condition is not due to an allergy. In some cases, environmental irritants trigger symptoms while other people may react negatively to certain odors, medicines, foods, or changes in the weather.


  • Take an over-the-counter decongestant to reduce nasal congestion. Medicines containing pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine work by narrowing of blood vessels in the nose.
  • Using a saline nasal sprays thin mucus, and speed the healing of a sore, raw nose. Saline nasal sprays are available at most pharmacies and grocery stores, or you can make your own by mixing 1/4 teaspoon salt in eight ounces of warm water. To reduce the burning caused by salt, add a pinch of baking soda solution before use.
  • Try an antihistamine nasal spray. While oral antihistamines are generally ineffective for treating nonallergic rhinitis, nasal sprays help often reduce or eliminate symptoms. Antihistamine nasal sprays are available by prescription from your doctor.
  • Ask your doctor if a corticosteroid nasal spray is appropriate for your case. Corticosteroid sprays can reduce inflammation and relieve congestion in some people with nonallergic rhinitis.
  • Do not use decongestant nasal spray for more than three days at a time, according to the Mayo Clinic. Prolonged use can cause rebound congestion.
  • Run a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep to loosen thick mucus and clear head congestion. Clean your humidifier daily to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.
  • Consider surgery if your symptoms are caused or aggravated by nasal polyps or a deviated septum. If your nonallergic rhinitis symptoms do not respond to other treatment, ask your doctor for a referral to a specialist for surgical evaluation.
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