Rhinitis – causes, treatment


The cold is by far the most common disease of the inside of the nose. The term “cold” summarizes a variety of different forms. Likewise, the individual causes are very different.

Forms of colds

Basically, the cold can be divided into acute and chronic forms of the cold, but better still according to their cause. Thus, within the acute forms, one knows the common cold, the cold in the most diverse infectious diseases, the nervous cold – and especially the hay fever.

Within the chronic, on the other hand, the runny nose in inflammatory diseases of the paranasal sinuses, those in specific diseases of the inside of the nose, such as tuberculosis and syphilis, and the runny nose in tumor diseases of the inside of the nose and the paranasal sinuses. In the following, the acute forms of the cold will be dealt with in more detail.

Acute runny nose

In acute colds, one must see inflammation of the nasal mucosa, which leads to increased secretion of the nasal mucosa: The glands stored in the mucous membrane secrete secretions more strongly than usual, and blood circulation is also increased. Due to the existing cavernous mechanism, especially in the mussel area, this leads to a kind of congestion in the vessels and thus causes an increase in the size of the mussels and at the same time a narrowing of the nasal cavity, so that one gets bad or no air at all through the nose. Thus, the two most important symptoms of the cold are given.

Nervous, vasomotor runny nose

Another form of cold is the nervous or vasomotor cold, which strictly speaking cannot be counted among the acute forms. As is known, the most important functions of the nasal mucosa, swelling and swelling and secretions, are subject to the autonomic nervous system.

Disturbances of this system, caused by various internal factors, can be answered by the nasal mucosa with an increased responsiveness, which manifests itself in sneezing attacks, abundant watery secretion and more or less nasal congestion. This suffering, in which completely appearance-free periods alternate arbitrarily with those of the reactions just described, is quite persistent, although by no means threatening.

Allergic rhinitis

Closely linked to this is the allergic rhinitis, which is triggered due to particular hypersensitivity of the nasal mucosa with simultaneously increased responsiveness to substances from the outside world. The number of these substances is extraordinarily large. For example, house dust, bed feathers, mattress fillings and the like, dandering of animals, occupational dust, especially flour, also wood, leather and drug dust, powders and perfumeries come into question; in rarer cases, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes and other fruits, chemicals and much more.

Hay fever

Of the allergic diseases, hay fever has been the longest and best researched so far. It is caused almost exclusively by grass pollen, mainly that of the windflowering plants. The flowering time of the different hay fever plants is not quite the same, and it is also different in landscape, which also causes the hay fever period.

The symptoms of hay fever are essentially the same as those of nervous colds, i.e. attacks of a cold with sneezing attacks and strong watery secretion of the nose. The eyes are almost always involved, which manifests itself in photosensitivity, tingling and scratching, redness of the conjunctiva, often also the eyelids, by strong tears and not infrequently in eyelid swelling.

In most cases, the symptoms appear suddenly and quickly develop to their full strength. However, some patients do not react so stormily. They are sometimes preceded by several days, in which only the general condition is disturbed, before the full clinical picture develops. The allergic rhinitis is thus in itself a complex term for which the most diverse allergens must be held responsible. Finding this out is extremely difficult and requires great patience on the part of the patient, but also on the part of the doctor.

In general, it can be said that allergic rhinitis, especially hay fever, is in no way a life-threatening disease. No one dies of hay fever, and it does not have a life-shortening effect.


If one counted the acute cold par excellence to the so-called colds, so today, according to the latest findings, one must see in it a viral symptomatology. Not so long ago, the long-suspected cold virus could finally be detected and bred. That the frequency of the cold varies depending on the seasons is a recognized fact, as well as that the influence of the weather plays a certain role in its formation. According to this, we must therefore see in the cooling or cold of the organism a favorable prerequisite for a cold virus infestation, although the cold does not have to be an absolute precondition.

Diseases with this symptom



An old rule of thumb says that the acute cold lasts about nine days; three days it is coming, three days it blooms, and in the remaining three days it subsides. In general, this is true, but it can also be different, depending on the constitution of the organism and the type of cold virus strain.

Although the clinical picture varies, however, it usually begins with general symptoms such as shivering or freezing, small temperature increases and fatigue. There is also a striking need for sleep, reluctance to mental work, pressure and bloating in the skull. In the nose there is often itching or tingling, which leads to frequent sneezing.

After initial dryness in the nose and oropharynx, the nose swells, and finally there is a considerable secretion flow, which initially has a watery character. This can last for several days, until then with the subsidence of the cold the secretion becomes purulent and tough and gradually disappears. Prolonged yellowish-green purulent nasal secretions and also persistent headache indicate a disease of the paranasal sinuses. Predominantly one or both maxillary sinuses may be affected.

The odor disturbances occurring during the runny nose are caused by the swelling state of the nasal mucus. Headaches also arise from the state of swelling caused by the displacement of the excretory ducts of the paranasal sinuses and the resulting disturbed ventilation. Dull or a feeling of pressure in one or both ears are consequences of insufficient ventilation of the middle ear, which is caused by the spread of inflammation to the nasopharynx and tubes.

Lighter forms disappear with the cold subsiding, stronger ones, on the other hand, can be more sustainable and require specialist treatment. The same applies if the nasal sinuses are affected. Not infrequently, an acute middle ear infection develops on the way of the tube or ear trumpet, which connects the middle ear with the nasopharynx – ie with the outside world. This requires separate treatment, while the uncomplicated cold does not necessarily have to be treated by a specialist.

The healthy person is a nasal breather and it has long been known that the nose is the main entry point for a large number of infectious diseases. Flu, measles, scarlet fever, rubella, angina, but also certain diseases of the meninges and polio – just to name a few. It lies in the reaction of the nasal mucosa that it reacts with a cold when infested by these different microbes, i.e. with increased secretion, swelling of the mucous membrane and the corresponding general complaints.

The course of such cold forms does not differ significantly from ordinary colds. Mostly it is only fleeting in nature. However, it can also extend over a longer period of time during the respective infectious disease. From this point of view, the cold, especially in childhood, is a symptom from which many things can develop. In the best case, an ordinary viral cold.


A cold is usually harmless, but it can also lead to various complications. A common secondary disease is inflammation of the paranasal sinuses or the middle ear. Less commonly, inflammation of the larynx or trachea and bronchi can occur, depending on the severity of the cold, the patient’s constitution and the side effects that occur.

A cold has an acute effect on well-being and performance. Affected people usually feel listless and tired, which increases the risk of other complications and the development of mental illnesses. The weakened immune system can also lead to dizziness , Exhaustion and propagation of the disease. Chronic colds not only put a considerable strain on the immune system in the long term.

When should you go to the doctor?

In most cases, no medical treatment is necessary for an ordinary cold. Most often, the cold occurs as a concomitant symptom of a cold or flu and therefore does not require medical treatment. It then disappears again when the underlying disease has been treated. The affected person can then consult a doctor if he wants to alleviate the symptoms of the cold. For this purpose, he also has various means from the pharmacy at his disposal. However, if the cold lasts a long time and occurs even after the flu has healed, a doctor should be consulted. A visit to the doctor is also necessary for inflammations and infections.

Those affected who suffer from allergies or intolerances can also consult a doctor to narrow down the allergy so that there is no cold at certain times of the year. A permanent cold can have a negative effect on the nose and lungs and should therefore be avoided. With the common flu or cold, the symptom is harmless and usually disappears even without medical treatment.

Treatment & Therapy

There are currently no special drugs to combat the common cold. Only nasal or nasal sprays reduce the effect of the cold, sometimes considerably. First and foremost, however, it is important to alleviate the general complaints, which can only happen by the swelling of the nasal mucosa. For this purpose, it is best to use the so-called nasal drops, which cause air passage of the nose for several hours.

Furthermore, a lot should be drunk so that the mucus and bacteria can drain quickly from the nose. Physical exertion should be avoided as long as it is possible professionally. Bed rest is usually not necessary.

Outlook & Forecast

A cold is usually harmless. Usually, symptoms subside after three to five days; in case of poor hygiene, an underlying infection and in other exceptional cases, recovery can also take several weeks or months.

In the case of a delayed cold, it can also lead to the development of another flu-like infection, which is accompanied by the typical flu symptoms and reduces the prospect of a rapid recovery. In rare cases, a chronic cold with a number of permanent complaints can develop as a result. Possible side effects such as high or throat and earache also influence the prognosis.

In general, however, runny nose is not a major impairment and usually subsides without long-term complications. A severe course is rather unlikely and is rarely associated with greater health risks. In the case of normal colds, such as those that occur in the context of a cold, rapid healing can usually be assumed.

A cold as a concomitant symptom of a very serious underlying condition (HIV infection, Ebola, etc.) requires comprehensive clarification by a specialist before a final prognosis can be made.


As already mentioned, the cold is infectious. The virus is transmitted to other people by droplets, most commonly by sneezing. A cold leaves no immunity, that is, after a cold you are not immune to a new cold. A lot of sport and exercise in the fresh air, and healthy, varied diet can prevent a cold, as well as a cold.

Home remedies & herbs for colds

  • For colds, we recommend a facial steam bath, prepared from 5 liters of chamomile tea and 6 tablespoons of ribwort juice. It is mixed and still boiling in a saucepan on the table. Then the steam is inhaled vigorously. Or heat 1 teaspoon of healing clay in the oven and put this remedy on your forehead, or put a drop of tincture of iodine in a small glass of water and take a small sip several times during the day.
  • Malvent tea is a good remedy for runny nose and cough.

↳ Further information: Home remedies for colds

What you can do yourself

Rhinitis is one of the diseases that are particularly well suited to be treated with traditional home remedies. The alpha and omega is to keep the mucous membranes of the nose as moist as possible. In this way, the cold can fulfill its function, the removal of viruses and bacteria, particularly well.

The moistening of the mucous membranes is basically possible in two ways. On the one hand, as part of local application, by rinsing the nose with a self-made saline solution (about 1 tsp to 1 l lukewarm water) or inhaling freshly brewed sage tea, for example, with a cloth over their head. On the other hand, an increased amount of drinking helps to ensure that the nasal mucosa does not dry out and does not offer pathogens rough spots to dock. In addition to water, herbal teas are particularly suitable here. Also in this context, sage tea is particularly recommended, because sage has a slightly disinfecting effect. This is helpful if the cold has also been accompanied by inflammation in the throat and throat.

Particularly fixed cold, which sits stubbornly in the paranasal sinuses and frontal sinus, can often be solved with a household red light. This process can be effectively supported if the room air is always kept moist by a bowl of water on the heater, especially at night.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.