The key difference between rhinitis and rhinosinusitis is that rhinitis is the irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose, while rhinosinusitis is the inflammation of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses.
Respiratory infection usually affects the respiratory system. The respiratory system is the part of the body that is responsible for breathing. These infections affect the sinuses, throat, lungs, and airways. There are two types of respiratory infections as upper respiratory infections and lower respiratory infections. Upper respiratory infections affect the upper part of the respiratory system, which includes sinuses, nose, and throat, while lower respiratory infections affect the lower part of the respiratory system, which includes lungs and airways. Rhinitis and rhinosinusitis are two medical conditions that can occur due to upper respiratory infection.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Rhinitis
3. What is Rhinosinusitis
4. Similarities – Rhinitis and Rhinosinusitis
5. Rhinitis vs Rhinosinusitis in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Rhinitis vs Rhinosinusitis
What is Rhinitis?
Rhinitis is the irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose. This inflammation is usually caused by viruses, bacteria, irritants, or allergens. Common symptoms of rhinitis include stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, postnasal drip, itchy nose, throat, eyes, ears, nose bleeds, clear drainage from the nose, snoring, breathing through the mouth, fatigue, and malaise. There are several types of rhinitis: acute or infectious rhinitis (viral or bacterial illness), allergic or seasonal rhinitis, and non-allergic or year-round rhinitis (environmental triggers, hormone imbalance, airborne irritants, dietary factors, sexual arousal, exercise, emotional factors).
The most common type of rhinitis is allergic rhinitis, which is usually caused due to airborne allergens such as pollen and dander. In the case of allergic rhinitis, the inflammation is caused by the degranulation of mast cells in the nose. When mast cells degranulate, they release histamines and other chemicals, which produce symptoms. Moreover, people who suffer from asthma are at a higher risk for rhinitis. Commonly used diagnosis methods for rhinitis include physical examination, percutaneous skin test, allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody test, nasal endoscopy, and CT scan. Furthermore, treatments for rhinitis include saline nasal sprays, corticosteroid nasal sprays, antihistamine nasal sprays, anti-drip anticholinergic nasal sprays, decongestants, and over-the-counter oral antihistamines (diphenhydramine, cetirizine, fexofenadine, and ioratadine).
What is Rhinosinusitis?
Rhinosinusitis is the inflammation of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. Rhinosinusitis is often classified based on the duration of symptoms and inflammation. Acute rhinosinusitis (viral acute rhinosinusitis and bacterial acute rhinosinusitis), recurrent acute rhinosinusitis (consists of 4 or more episodes of acute bacterial rhinosinusitis in a year), and chronic rhinosinusitis (caused due to infection or nasal polyps) are several types of rhinosinusitis.
The symptoms of rhinosinusitis include nasal congestion, facial or dental pain, purulent rhinorrhea, postnasal drainage, headache, cough, fever, severe pain, unilateral disease, fatigue, hyposmia, or anosmia, ear fullness, or pressure. Moreover, this condition can be diagnosed through clinical and physical examination, anterior rhinoscopy, endoscopy, radiography, sinus computed tomography, and aeroallergen allergy testing. Furthermore, treatment options for rhinosinusitis include nasal saline irrigation, intranasal corticosteroid sprays, topical decongestants, topical intranasal ipratropium bromide (anticholinergic spray), topical intranasal steroids, antiviral medicines, antibiotics (amoxicillin-clavulanate), monoclonal antibody therapy (dupilumab, omalizumab, mepolizumab, benzralizumab), and endoscopic sinus surgery.
What are the Similarities Between Rhinitis and Rhinosinusitis?
- Rhinitis and rhinosinusitis are two medical conditions affecting the respiratory tract.
- These conditions can be due to upper respiratory infections.
- They are often due to viral or bacterial infections and other causes.
- Both medical conditions can be treated with antiviral, antibiotics, and decongestants.
What is the Difference Between Rhinitis and Rhinosinusitis?
Rhinitis is the irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose, while rhinosinusitis is the inflammation of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. Thus, this is the key difference between rhinitis and rhinosinusitis. Furthermore, rhinitis is caused by viruses, bacteria, irritants, allergens, environmental triggers, hormone imbalance, airborne irritants, dietary factors, sexual arousal, exercise, and emotional factors. On the other hand, rhinosinusitis is caused by viruses, bacteria, nasal polyps, nasal septum, medical conditions like asthma, exposure to contaminants like tobacco or smoke, or immune system disorders.
The below infographic presents the differences between rhinitis and rhinosinusitis in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Rhinitis vs Rhinosinusitis
Rhinitis and rhinosinusitis are two medical conditions affecting the upper respiratory tract. Rhinitis is the irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose, while rhinosinusitis is the inflammation of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. So, this is the key difference between rhinitis and rhinosinusitis.
1. “Depiction of a person suffering from Allergic Rhinitis” By Myupchar (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Histopathology of a nasal polyp” By Luh Putu Lusy Indrawati, Vita Arfiana Nurul Fatimah, and Osman Sianipar – (2019). &”Representation of Lymphocytes in Sinonasal Tissue of Chronic Rhinosinusitis Patients”. KnE Life Sciences 4 (11): 109. DOI:10.18502/kls.v4i11.3857. ISSN 2413-0877. (CC BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia