Diagnosis of Allergic Rhinitis

Your doctor or allergist will begin by taking a detailed medical history, which will include questions about your lifestyle, eating habits, family and medical history, and medication use. Your doctor will also do a physical exam and will check inside your nose for signs of inflammation.

Testing for allergic rhinitis may include:

  • Skin test—Skin testing is one of the easiest, most sensitive, and least expensive ways to diagnose rhinitis. A tiny allergen particle is placed under the skin with a needle. In 80% of cases, an allergic response is confirmed if the skin becomes raised or red within 20 minutes.
  • RAST blood test—For this test, your doctor will take a blood sample to determine the level of antibody production in your body. This test is used to detect levels of immunoglobulin in response to a specific allergen. Such blood tests are less accurate than skin tests and should be done only when skin tests are not available.
  • Nasal smear—A sample of your nasal secretions may be taken and examined to identify the cause of the rhinitis or to rule out other allergic conditions.
  • Nasal endoscopy—To aid in diagnosis, a tiny fiberoptic camera may be used to view more deeply inside your nose.

References:

Advice from your allergist: Rhinitis. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology website. Available at: http://www.acaai.org/public/advice/rhin.htm. Accessed September 15, 2008.



Last reviewed July 2008 by Elie Edmond Rebeiz, MD, FACS

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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