1417 A community based survey on the prevalence of rhinitis

Monday, 6 December 2010

A community based survey on the prevalence of rhinitis

A. Sami, A. McComb, J. Jeffs and P. Howarth


Rhinitis is an increasingly common condition although there is limited information as to its true prevalence within the community. This study aimed to obtain a current prevalence of rhinitis within the community and to explore its impact on social and emotional functioning. A survey of 2000 adults in the Farnborough area was devised and carried out using the Modified SNOT-20 (MSNOT-20) questionnaire for this study. Method

A postal survey of rhinitis was conducted in the Farnborough area with 2000 MSNOT-20 questionnaires being sent to randomly selected adults from the electoral register. There were 1595 returned (79.8%) of which 1580 were evaluable. 58% of respondents were female and 41.9% male.


The population age range was 16.9 to 92.4 years (mean 48.6 years). A score of 0-1 on a six-point rating scale was taken as normal for each question and a score of 2-5 taken as abnormal. 32.5% of the population had an abnormal score for “needing to blow their nose”, 31.4% for “sneezing”, 25.4% for “runny nose' and 30.1 % for “blocked nose”. The combined nasal sub-score (sum of 4 questions, max score 20) identified a score of 4 or less in 62.1 % (39.9 % abnormal rhinitis score).

Those with rhinitis were more likely to score abnormally on the other domains in comparison to those with normal scores; paranasal (55.5% vs. 28.8%), sleep (41.5% vs. 22.1%), social and emotional (38.9 vs. 19.6%).


This study identifies the common prevalence of rhinitis and the associated morbidity, with over 30% of the population experiencing nasal blockage, sneezing and need to blow their nose.

A total MSNOT-20 score does not provide information exclusively on ENT disease; due to the wide range of conditions affecting quality of life. Subdivision into separate symptom clusters does, however, permit exploration of disease prevalence. Using symptom clusters, this study identified that there is also a high prevalence of ENT morbidity within the community.