The Difference Between Rhinitis and Sinusitis

By AOO on August 10, 2021 under Sinusitis, Uncategorized

The Difference Between Rhinitis and Sinusitis

Rhinitis and sinusitis are two common respiratory conditions that can make people feel like they have a cold. Rhinitis is an inflammation of the nose, and sinusitis is an infection in the sinuses, which are air-filled tissues around the nose. While these two conditions may sound similar, there is quite a bit of difference between them! Let’s explore those differences to help you better understand how to tell if you have one or both.

What is Rhinitis?

Rhinitis is an inflammation of the nose and nasal passages. This causes sneezing, congestion, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat (postnasal drip), itchy eyes, and sometimes snoring. People with rhinitis usually experience these symptoms for at least 12 weeks a year in both nostrils to be diagnosed with this condition.

What Causes Rhinitis?

Many things can cause Rhinitis, including allergies, seasonal changes in temperature, or weather conditions like sudden changes in pressure. Stress levels may also play a role. One out of four people has some form of allergy that triggers their body’s immune system to attack harmless substances from the environment, such as dust mites, pollens, and animal dander.

What is Sinusitis?

On the other hand, sinusitis is an infection of the sinuses. This inflammation in these air-filled tissues around the nose can cause similar symptoms to rhinitis, such as congestion, postnasal drip, sore throat, itchy eyes, or snoring. The difference between sinusitis and rhinitis is that people with sinusitis will experience those same symptoms for more than two months a year without any seasonal variation associated with them. It’s important not to confuse these two conditions because they are treated quite differently. If you suspect that your child may have either one or both of these respiratory conditions, see an ear, nose, and throat specialist as soon as possible.

What Causes Sinusitis?

The most common cause of sinusitis is bacteria such as streptococcus, staphylococcus, and haemophilus influenza that infect the nasal passages or spread from other sites in the body to these air-filled tissues like a tooth infection (fungal infections can also cause sinusitis). People with chronic conditions are more vulnerable to bacterial sinusitis because they may have issues clearing their nose, which allows any respiratory pathogens lurking within their environment access into these delicate areas.

How to Distinguish Between Rhinitis and Sinusitis?

If you’re not quite sure whether or not you have rhinitis, sinusitis, or both, here are some tips to help figure it out:

Sinus pressure and pain can be felt in the face and mouth of someone who has Sinusitis. It is also more common for chronic sufferers of this condition to experience facial swelling on one side because they may have a ruptured cyst within their paranasal sinuses.

A person with rhinitis will show clear signs that they have congestion. They may show symptoms like an increase in nasal discharge (clear mucous), swollen turbinates (narrowing flow) that appear red from dilated blood vessels, and postnasal drip symptoms such as sore throat or coughing.

Sinusitis is often accompanied by asthma, while rhinitis can be a symptom of hay fever or other allergies.

Relief From Rhinitis and Sinusitis in Denver, CO

If you think you have either rhinitis or sinusitis, you need to talk to a qualified physician. At Associates of Otolaryngology, we are qualified to diagnose and treat these conditions. Upon assessment, one of our ENT specialists will tell you which one you have if it’s not clear from the symptoms alone. Then, a personalized treatment plan will be formed so you can get the relief you need from these conditions. Contact AOO to schedule your consultation by calling one of our convenient Colorado office locations or contacting us online today.