The confusing thing about rhinitis is that there are multiple causes for symptoms that may or may not be allergic. People who are allergic to pollen, mold, animal dander can suffer severely, but at least they know what allergens to avoid and ways to get specific relief or control. Unknown allergens and non-allergic rhinitis can be devastating because of the confusion surrounding their causes, which is made worse from stress and can impact people in different ways. Here's a look at how rhinitis can affect different people without warning, and ways to control the problem until you reach a professional:

What Is Rhinitis?

For most people, rhinitis is usually discussed as allergic rhinitis. In general, it's the irritation of the nose's mucous membrane that can lead to various reactions.

One thing to learn about rhinitis reactions is that the uncomfortable reactions are often nothing more than warnings. The human body has a wide range of warning indications including pain, and the irritation that comes from rhinitis is a warning that something dangerous is threatening the body.

People with allergic rhinitis usually have an over-active response to perceived threats. Pollen and dust can trigger a warning that seems like an outside infecting agent coming to damage the rest of the body, and the body reacts by producing removal agents (additional tears, mucous, saliva, etc) while letting your brain know that something must be done about it.

What people perceive as a need to scratch or wash out their eyes, or scratch different parts of their body is no different than the eyes watering. It may seem like a conscious decision to some--and it can be resisted--but it's an impressively annoying testament to how the human body can take care of itself without conscious thought.

A confusing form of rhinitis comes from no known stimuli. Although there could always be an irritant that hasn't been observed carefully, it's possible for the body to incorrectly fire a rhinitis response simply as an incorrect bodily function with no cues at all.

Allergic Reactions Without Knowing About Allergies

One major cause of allergic rhinitis and general rhinitis confusion is the ability to be allergic to things you may have never encountered before.

If your life has been reasonably healthy while people around you sneeze from seasonal allergies, it's understandable to think that you don't have an allergy problem. For an unlucky few, they simply haven't encountered their problem allergen yet. This is a rare situation for many travelers but is well-known in the military due to the large amount of people who travel through many foreign countries on a regular basis.

Many service-members enter new, foreign experiences after seeing nothing but their local area straight out of high school. An unfortunate few may discover that they're allergic to specific spores present in some desert areas of the Middle East, or that certain trees in Europe have a pollen that affects them while other pollen sources aren't a problem.

An even more unfortunate group--like the writer of this article--will have seasonal allergies, animal dander allergies, then a host of new allergies in a foreign environment.

The best way to get quick relief from suspected rhinitis is to consider budget allergy medicines or antihistamines. Generic Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Clemastine (Tavist), Fexofenadine (Allergra), Loratadine (Claritin), or Diphenhydramine (Benedryl, sedating/drowsiness-causing) can be tested at low cost to figure out if you have an allergic reaction instead of a head cold.

Contact an allergy specialist and ask about rhinitis if you seem to have cold or allergic response that doesn't match your past. Contact a medical clinic like Northwest Asthma & Allergy Center PS for more information and assistance.