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Comparison of clinical differences between patients with allergic rhinitis and nonallergic rhinitis

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September 19, 2013
by Mustafa Akarcay, MD; Murat C. Miman, MD; Tamer Erdem, MD; Semih Oncel, MD; Orhan Ozturan, MD; Erol Selimoglu, MD


We conducted a retrospective study to investigate the clinical differences between subtypes of rhinitis patients. Our findings were based on a detailed history and nasal examination. The study population was made up of 910 patients who had at least two rhinitis symptoms. These patients were categorized into one of three rhinitis groups: nonallergic rhinitis (NAR), seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR), and perennial allergic rhinitis (PAR); there were 212 patients (23.3%) in the NAR group, 473 (52.0%) in the SAR group, and 225 (24.7%) in the PAR group. In addition to demographic data, we compiled information on the season when each patient presented, specific symptoms and their triggers, parental history, associated allergic diseases (e.g., skin, lung, and eye allergies), and nasal examination findings. The SAR patients represented the youngest of the three groups. Most SAR patients presented in spring and summer, and this group had the highest incidence of eye itchiness, pharyngeal itchiness, eye redness, and palatal itchiness. In terms of triggering factors, a visit to a green area was significantly more common in the SAR patients, while detergent odor, sudden temperature change, and cold air were significantly more common in the NAR patients. On nasal examination, a pale nasal mucosa was significantly more common in the NAR group. In clinical practice, it is crucial to differentiate between allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. We conclude that relevant information from the history can predict allergic rhinitis. Future studies of prevalence should take into consideration the important findings of our study, including the significance of age and the seasonality of exacerbation of rhinitis symptoms.

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