People with hay fever (rhinitis) have inflamed lining in their nose, which causes it to be blocked, running and itchy, as well as causing sneezing. Many cases of rhinitis are due to allergy; for example, summer hay fever is caused by grass pollen allergy. However, not all rhinitis is caused by allergies. There are a number of different causes of non-allergic rhinitis, including structural problems in the nose, such as a deviated nasal septum, perforated septum or adenoidal hypertrophy, or inflammatory problems, such as nasal polyps. Medication taken for other conditions can also cause rhinitis.
What is rhinosinusitis?
Rhinosinusitis is a more complex condition. It involves inflammation of the sinuses in addition to the lining of the nose. Symptoms typically include nasal blockage and congestion, facial pain and discomfort, and nasal discharge, either from the front of the nose or as a post-nasal drip. Many of the causes are the same as for non-allergic rhinitis.
Patients who are referred with rhinitis or rhinosinusitis are seen in our joint medical-surgical nose clinic. This clinic has both allergy doctors and ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeons from Charing Cross Hospital. They will take a full history of the problem and may also undertake other tests, such as allergy skin prick tests, lung function testing and examination of the nose using an endoscope. Other tests may be necessary, including blood tests and CT (computed tomography) scans of the sinuses. Following a diagnosis, if surgery is needed, this will also be arranged in the clinic, but will take place at Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith.
Allergy team contact information
Fulham wing/South block, Fulham Road
Tel: 020 7351 8892
Fax: 020 7351 8949