Chronic respiratory diseases

Allergic rhinitis and sinusitis

What is allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, happens when you breathe in something to which you are allergic, and the inside of your nose becomes inflamed and swollen.

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the lining inside the sinuses which can be acute or chronic. When the sinuses become blocked and fill with fluid, germs can grow and cause symptoms such as headache and nasal yellowish secretions. Blocked sinuses can be caused by the common cold, hay fever or nasal polyps (small lumps inside the nose).

Allergic rhinitis and sinusitis are linked to each other, because allergic rhinitis causes your nose to become blocked, and in turn blocks the sinuses.


Allergic rhinitis is triggered by allergens. Allergens can be found both outdoors and indoors. When allergic rhinitis is caused by outdoor allergens, e.g., mould or trees, grass and weed pollens — it is often referred to as seasonal allergies, or “hay fever”. Allergic rhinitis may also be triggered by allergens found in the home, such as animal dander, indoor mould, or house dust mites. The most current classification of allergic rhinitis, tough, takes into consideration the intensity of symptoms and the impact on quality of life. According to these characteristics it may be mild or moderate/severe.


Acute sinusitis usually subsides without any need for specific treatment. Chronic sinusitis may require antibiotics, decongestants or steroid nasal sprays.

Other chronic respiratory diseases