Glossary

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Atrophic rhinitis

Chronic rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal mucosa) associated with thinning of the nasal mucosa, crusting and a foul-smelling discharge.

Cilia

Small, hair-like structures in the nose that help sweep away mucus or particles to keep the nose clean.

Corticosteroid

Any of the steroids released from the adrenal cortex. Synthetic versions are used to treat various diseases, for hormone replacement, for anti-inflammatory activity and to suppress the immune system.

Decongestant

A type of medication that reduces congestion and swelling of the nose usually by constricting blood vessels in the nasal passages.

Hypertonic

A hypertonic solution has a higher concentration of salt than normal body cells. Helps to relive blocked or stuffy noses.  Also helps nasal irrigation.

Infectious rhinitis

The common cold; a viral infection of the nasal mucosa that leads to mild cell inflammation and significant nasal discharge (runny nose).

Isotonic

An isotonic solution has the same concentration of salt as normal body cells. Helps nasal irrigation.

Mucous membranes (mucosa)

The inner lining of the mouth, nasal passages and various other body linings. Mucous membranes contain glands that secrete mucus to help keep the cavity lining lubricated.

Mucus

Slimy substance in the nasal and other mucous membranes that helps lubricate the nose and eliminate bacteria and dirt from the nose.

Nasal lubricant

A substance that is applied in the nasal passages to help keep the nose moist and to provide a barrier.

Nasal passages

A portion of the respiratory passages, the cavity inside the nose that is lined with the nasal mucosa through which air is passed, heated and filtered before reaching the lungs.

Nosebleed

Loss of blood from the nasal membranes, usually restricted to one side of the nose. Nosebleeds can be caused by an excessively dry nose, forceful blowing of the nose and nose picking, and other trauma to the nose.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG)

PEGs are either clear or slightly yellowish liquids or whitish solids used in a wide variety of pharmaceutical preparations such as ointments, solvents, tablets and capsules. They can be dissolved in water, but are not easily absorbed by the skin. They are generally non-irritating and easily wash off with water.

Propylene glycol

A clear, thick liquid used widely in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products as an antiseptic, humectant (helps retain moisture), solvent, preservative and carrier for other substances. It is easily absorbed by damaged skin.

Rebound congestion

Congestion of the nose that occurs upon discontinuation of the medication in individuals who have overused nasal decongestants.

Rhinitis

Inflammation of the nasal mucosa.

Rhinitis medicamentosa

Rebound congestion and inflammation of the nasal membranes caused by overuse of nasal decongestants.

Saline solution

A solution of 0.9% sodium chloride in water used in nasal sprays and drops to help wash out the nose and relieve nasal dryness.

Vasomotor rhinitis

A chronic runny nose and blood vessel congestion of the nasal mucosa in the absence of infection or allergy.