Causes of Itchy Nose and Ears

Almost everyone has had some experience with symptoms of itchy nose, eyes and ears that are often accompanied by red, burning eyes; sneezing; and runny nose. In most cases, these symptoms are the result of an allergy of some sort. An allergic reaction occurs when the body's immune system over-reacts to a normally harmless substance. It is the job of the immune system to attack foreign invaders and destroy things that are potentially harmful to the body, but those with allergies are hypersensitive. The immune system of an allergic individual produces IgE antibodies that are responsible for the immune response, according to the Mayo Clinic 3.

Allergic Rhinitis

One of the most common causes of itchy nose and ears and other allergic symptoms is allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever. According to the American Academy Of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, allergic rhinitis affects between 10 and 30 percent of adults and as many as 40 percent of children 2. This condition is most often caused by pollen and occur seasonally when pollen counts are high, such as in the spring and fall. It also can be persistent, occurring year-round. Allergic rhinitis due to pollen allergy is rarely a serious condition, but can be annoying and cause many of the typical allergic symptoms. Those who suffer with allergic rhinitis may find it helpful to avoid the outdoors during times when pollen counts are at their peak.

Drug Reaction

Whenever medication is taken, there is a possibility of an improper response by the body to the drug that can cause:

  • a variety of symptoms
  • including itchiness
  • hives
  • skin rash
  • swelling
  • difficulty breathing

Adverse reactions can be caused by an allergy to the drug, but most drug side effects are not due to an allergy. According to the National Institutes of Health, penicillin and related antibiotics are the most common cause of drug allergies, but other common drugs include sulfa drugs, anticonvulsants and insulin 1.

Food Allergy

Many different foods can cause an allergic reaction in certain individuals and can lead to typical allergy symptoms, such as hives and itchiness, swelling and rashes. Some reactions can be life-threatening. According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, approximately 12 million Americans suffer with food allergies. Symptoms are caused by ingesting an offending food which then triggers the release of body chemicals, such as histamine, which then leads to symptoms. Avoidance of food triggers is the only way to prevent an allergy attack.

Skin Conditions

Itchiness of the nose and ears can be caused by a variety of skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis. These conditions affect the skin in various areas and can lead to itchiness, redness, flakiness and a rash. A skin condition should be diagnosed by a doctor as treatment depends on the true cause.