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 allergic 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.
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 November 2009 by ]]>Purvee S. Shah, MD]]>
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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