Skip to content

Asthma Health Center

Font Size

Allergic Rhinitis and Asthma

Many people have both allergic rhinitis and asthma. If you have an allergy, you are more likely to get asthma, and allergic rhinitis can make your asthma symptoms worse if you already have asthma. When asthma is made worse by allergies, it is known as allergic asthma.

Some experts now consider the two conditions to be one inflammatory disease involving a common airway rather than two distinct diseases. Research is ongoing. Four ideas on how allergic rhinitis and asthma might be linked are as follows:

  • Inflammation and irritation of the nasal passages cause a reflex reaction within the lungs, perhaps through nerve pathways.
  • Relatively cold, dry air stimulates asthma symptoms when allergic rhinitis sufferers must breathe in through their mouths because they have stuffy noses.
  • Drainage from the nose caused by allergic rhinitis irritates the airways in the lungs.
  • Cells that trigger inflammation or chemicals that cause inflammation travel through the bloodstream and cause inflammation in the lungs.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Last RevisedJune 30, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 30, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

Take the WebMD Asthma assessment to get Personalized Action Plan

Start Now

Today on WebMD

Lung and bronchial tube graphic
5 common triggers.
group jogging in park
Should you avoid fitness activities?
asthma inhaler
Learn about your options.
man feeling faint
What’s the difference?
Los Angeles skyline in smog
man in a field with allergies
Woman holding inhaler
Slideshow Allergy Myths and Facts

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Man outdoors coughing
Lung and bronchial tube graphic
10 Worst Asthma Cities