Rhinitis and sinusitis: what’s the difference?

The symptoms between sinusitis and rhinitis are quite similar and, therefore, the conditions are often confused. But, basically, rhinitis is the inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, while sinusitis is the inflammation of the mucous membranes of the paranasal sinuses.

People with rhinitis can develop sinusitis, although it is not such a common condition. On the contrary, most patients with sinusitis have rhinitis as well.

The condition is so recurrent that doctors and specialists have adopted the term rhinosinusitis to define sinusitis.

Read more: Sinusitis: which remedies and treatments are indicated

Despite relatively similar symptoms, there is a good difference between the two: rhinitis is caused by a viral infection or allergic response, and attacks only the nose region (the nasal mucous membranes). The main symptoms are runny nose, itchy nose, sneezing and stuffy nose.

While sinusitis can be caused by viruses, bacteria and fungi, in addition to allergenic agents and other factors (anatomical, for example), it affects the paranasal sinuses, compromising the excretion of secretions.

Also read: What is the difference between a flu and a cold?