Inflammation of the membranes inside of the nose is called rhinitis. Symptoms of this include; sneezing, itching, and nasal drainage. These symptoms are caused by a number of different irritants that the nose may become exposed to. Rhinitis is currently classified as either allergic or non-allergic.
Allergic Rhinitis-This occurs due to the body’s immune system “over-reacting” to specific and non-infectious particles such as plant pollens, dust mites, molds, and animal hair to name a few. A series of chemical reactions begin inside of the nose after exposure to a sensitizing particle. One of the chemicals, histamine, induces blood vessels in the nose to enlarge causing redness and swelling of the nasal membranes. When this occurs, symptoms such as sneezing and congestion in the nose develop.
Non-allergic rhinitis-This form of rhinitis does not depend on the body’s immune system and is not due to an allergic response. Symptoms are similar to allergic rhinitis but are triggered by pollutants such as cigarette smoke. Other causes may be strong odors, cold weather, spicy foods, and over use of medications such as nasal decongestants available over the counter.
Treatment of both allergic and non-allergic rhinitis may involve medications, environmental controls or immunotherapy. Treatment options are available and may be discussed by a medical provider at Superior Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists.
*See our Allergy page for more information
Acute Sinusitis- In acute bacterial sinusitis the sinus cavities are infected with bacteria. The sinuses become inflamed and are unable to drain normally. This is usually preceded by an allergy attack, a cold or some sort of irritation from an environmental pollutant. Unlike a cold, a sinus infection will not clear on its own and will require treatment by a physician.
Signs and symptoms of sinusitis include; Thick yellow to green nasal drainage, nasal congestion, facial pressure, and duration of symptoms for at least 10 to 14 days. Sometimes, along with the above symptoms you can experience fever, headache, bad breath and teeth discomfort.
Chronic Sinusitis- Sinus infections that happen frequently or when an infection lasts three months or more it may be chronic sinusitis. Symptoms of chronic sinus disease are often similar to those in acute sinusitis but less severe. Chronic sinusitis often requires intensive therapy with antibiotics and other medications monitored by an ENT. Sometimes X-rays will need to be performed to assess the severity of chronic disease and to evaluate whether surgery may be needed for the sinuses.
For more information of sinusitis, treatment and prevention visit us at Superior Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists.
*Go to our Procedures page and view Sinus Surgery for more information
Most nosebleeds or epistaxis are usually mild and more of a nuisance than anything. Sometimes however, they can become concerning and a few are even life threatening.
Nosebleeds are usually classified as two types, anterior or posterior bleeds. These classifications differ in respect to where the origin of the bleeding is from, the front of the nasal cavity or anterior nosebleed or from the back of the nasal cavity, or posterior bleeding.
Anterior Nosebleed- This type of bleeding from the nose is the most common. The origin is usually from the nasal septum or semi-rigid wall between the nostrils. This type of bleeding usually occurs from one nostril and the blood will flow out of the affected side. Anterior epistaxis is more common in dry climates or during winter months. Heated, dry air can dehydrate the delicate tissue inside the nose resulting in crusting and cracking which can lead to bleeding.
Posterior Nosebleed- Bleeding of this type is more rare and often more severe, usually requiring treatment by a physician. The bleeding begins deep in the nasal cavity and can flow down the back of the throat even when the patient is standing or sitting upright. Posterior epistaxis is more common after injury to the face or nose, in those with high blood pressure and the elderly.
Additional Causes of Epistaxis:
- Allergies, nose picking, and infections.
- Clotting disorders that run in families or certain medications that prevent you from forming a clot.
- Aggressive nose bleeding that ruptures the delicate blood vessels in the nose.
- Rarely, tumors inside the nasal cavity have to be considered and ruled out when bleeding becomes frequent and recurrent.
Preventing Nosebleeds-After bleeding has ceased there are several key factors that can be done to attempt recurrence of the bleeding:
- Keep your head higher than the level of your heart
- Use a humidifier or a topical nasal saline spray to moisturize the nasal tissues
- Do not strain or left heavy objects for a few days
- Do not blow vigorously or pick the nose
If Re-bleeding Occurs:
- Attempt to clear nose of all blood clots
- Spray nose on affected side four times with a nasal decongestant spray called Neo-Synephrine or Afrin (sold over-the-counter)
- Apply pressure for five minutes
- Apply ice or a cold compress
- Call your doctor if bleeding persists