Rhinitis management guidelines

The British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Classification and differential diagnosis

  • Rhinitis is defined as having two of the listed symptoms for ≥1 hour/day for ≥2 weeks
    • blockage
    • running (including postnasal drip)
    • sneezing (including nasal itch)
  • Classification is shown in the chart below
  • Nasal problems are often multifactorial, this needs to be taken into account when using the classification or considering treatment
  • Allergic rhinitis:
    • is common and affects over 20% of the UK population
    • is diagnosed by history and examination, and should be backed up by specific allergy tests where identification of specific triggers will enable avoidance or affect choice of treatment
  • Non-allergic rhinitis:
    • has a multifactorial aetiology
    • if eosinophilic, usually responds to treatment with corticosteroids
    • may be a presenting complaint for systemic disorders such as Wegener’s granulomatosis, Churg–Strauss syndrome and sarcoidoisis
  • Infective rhinitis:
    • can be caused by viruses, and less commonly by bacteria, fungi and protozoa
    • is often more severe in allergic patients especially if infection occurs at the time of allergen exposure
    • treatment that addresses only the acute problem may result in incomplete resolution of the infection or a later recurrence
  • Since the mucosa of the the nose and sinuses is continuous, rhinitis should be called rhinosinusitis

Log in or register now for FREE in order to:

  • benefit from unlimited access to all pages, including:
    • 180+ guideline summaries
    • 1000+ evidence-based articles
  • review and leave comments on all articles and summaries
  • automatically track your reading and learning via your CPD tracker
  • on-demand webinars presented by leading clinical experts

Registration only takes 2 minutes and it will give you FREE access to all content across:

  • GuidelinesinPractice.co.uk
  • Guidelines.co.uk
  • GuidelinesforNurses.co.uk


Need help? Email us