Rhinitis vs Sinusitis

Posted October 4, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 2 min read

Rhinitis, also called allergic rhinitis, is the term used to describe the condition that occurs when your body reacts to allergens. In other words, when someone says their allergies are bothering them, they could also say they are currently suffering from rhinitis. Sinusitis, also referred to as a sinus infection, occurs when the lining of your sinuses becomes inflamed due to an infection caused by either a virus, bacteria, or (rarely) a fungus. You can also get a sinus infection if your sinuses are regularly blocked by congestion, for example, or by a nasal obstruction, such as a polyp.

Rhinitis vs. sinusitis symptoms and attributes

Where most people get tied up understanding the difference between rhinitis and sinusitis is when they think about the symptoms. To help clarify this issue, here is a side-by-side comparison of rhinitis vs. sinusitis symptoms and other important attributes.

Symptoms: Stuffy nose, runny nose, eyes that are red/itchy/watery, sneezing, wheezing, rash, fatigueSymptoms: Stuffy nose, swollen and painful sinuses, post-nasal drip, chronic cough, fatigue, bad breath, low fever
Mucus: Typically clear and wateryMucus: Thicker and yellow/green
Onset: Directly after exposure to allergenOnset: 1-2 weeks after exposure to contagious individual, or after 1-2 weeks of continuous congestion
Duration: Symptoms disappear after allergens are no longer presentDuration: 4-12 weeks or longer, depending on the severity of the infection

Can Rhinitis turn into Sinusitis?

  • Yes. This is another reason why people often get confused when discussing rhinitis vs. sinusitis untreated and chronic rhinitis can create the ideal environment for a sinus infection to occur.

  • Specifically, if your allergies are particularly bad and you are frequently congested, the buildup of mucus in your sinuses can become a breeding ground for the kind of bacteria that can lead to a sinus infection.

How to treat Rhinitis and Sinusitis?

  • An occasional bout with rhinitis can be treated with OTC medication (recommended by your doctor) or, in some cases, prescription medications.

  • For sporadic and non-chronic sinusitis, your doctor may also recommend OTC medications or, in very severe cases, antibiotics.

  • If you have rhinitis or sinusitis that is treatment-resistant and chronic, however, then more aggressive treatment may be necessary.

  • In these cases, you will want to discuss treatment options with a trusted sinus doctor (also called an ENT, or ear, nose, and throat doctor).

ClariFix for rhinitis relief

  • ClariFix for rhinitis relief uses cryotherapy to reduce the activity of the posterior nasal nerve (PNN), which typically innervates your body’s reactive mucus production.

  • Lasting about 3 minutes, the procedure is very short, can be performed in-office, is relatively painless, requires minimal recovery time, and has long-lasting results.

Balloon sinuplasty for sinusitis relief

  • Balloon sinuplasty for sinusitis relief uses the inflation of a small, endoscopic balloon to widen your nasal passages and restore proper sinus drainage.

  • The procedure lasts about 20 minutes and is a minimally invasive alternative to traditional sinus surgery.

  • It can also be performed in-office, is relatively painless, requires minimal recovery time, and has long-lasting results.

rhinitis sinusitis differences

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