Often considered the same, this is the difference between rhinitis and sinusitis

Some people may not know the difference between rhinitis and sinusitis. These two conditions do have symptoms that are almost similar so they are often considered the same. In fact, rhinitis and sinusitis are two different health problems.

Rhinitis is a condition when the nasal cavity becomes inflamed and causes runny nose and sneezing symptoms. Meanwhile, sinusitis is a disease when the sinus cavities around the nose and eyes swell and become inflamed. Sinusitis can cause symptoms of a runny nose, runny nose, and headaches.

If not treated properly, both rhinitis and sinusitis can increase the risk of developing respiratory tract infections. Therefore, it is important to recognize the difference between the symptoms of rhinitis and sinusitis and how to treat them.

Difference Between Rhinitis and Sinusitis Based on Triggering Factors

Rhinitis is generally caused by allergic reactions, such as exposure to pollen, dust, cigarette smoke, and animal dander. In addition to allergic reactions, disorders of the nerves inside the nose (vasomotor rhinitis) and infections can also cause rhinitis.

In contrast to rhinitis, sinusitis is usually caused by an infection, either a viral or bacterial infection. The infection that causes sinusitis usually originates from the teeth or gums.

In addition to infection, there are several other factors that can also trigger sinusitis, namely a history of asthma, nasal deformities, and smoking habits.

Difference Between Rhinitis and Sinusitis Based on Symptoms

Both rhinitis and sinusitis often cause cold symptoms. However, these two conditions can also cause different symptoms. Some of the symptoms of rhinitis that can appear are:

  • Itchy nose and eyes
  • sneeze
  • Nasal congestion
  • Clear mucus or mucus from the nose
  • Watery eyes

If caused by allergies, the symptoms of rhinitis can quickly disappear if you stay away from the triggering factor. However, people with rhinitis can sometimes experience these symptoms suddenly.

Although they have some similarities, the symptoms of sinusitis are slightly different from rhinitis. The following are some of the symptoms of sinusitis:

  • Headache
  • Head feels heavy
  • Pain around the bridge of the nose or under the eyes, especially when pressed
  • Nasal congestion
  • Excessive mucus production in the throat and causes discomfort
  • Cough
  • Reduced ability to smell aroma

The symptoms of rhinitis and sinusitis can be acute or resolve within a few days or weeks. However, these two conditions can sometimes be chronic and persist for months.

Rhinitis and Sinusitis Treatment

Symptoms of rhinitis and sinusitis can sometimes be similar, and it's possible for you to experience both conditions at once. Therefore, you need to consult a doctor to confirm the diagnosis.

Doctors can perform a physical examination and supporting examinations such as blood tests, allergy tests, and X-rays of the face and head to confirm the diagnosis.

After the diagnosis is known, the doctor can perform the following treatments to treat your condition:

Administration of drugs

To treat rhinitis and sinusitis, your doctor will prescribe antihistamines, such as: diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, loratadine, fexofenadine, and cetirizine.

In addition, doctors can also prescribe decongestant medications and to relieve symptoms of a cold that is severe and does not go away. This drug is available in the form of nasal drops as well as oral medication.

If your rhinitis or sinusitis is caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.


This method is generally an option to treat rhinitis or sinusitis that is severe and does not go away with medication. Surgery can also be performed to treat chronic rhinitis, such as vasomotor rhinitis, and chronic sinusitis.

In addition to the above treatment, both rhinitis and sinusitis can also be treated by staying away from allergy triggers or irritations in the nose, such as cigarette smoke and animal dander.

If your rhinitis or sinusitis symptoms resolve within a few days, that's a sign you don't need special treatment. However, you need to be careful if the symptoms of rhinitis or sinusitis that you experience often recur or do not improve after more than 2-3 weeks.

If you experience this condition, you should immediately consult a doctor to get the right treatment.