Skip to content

Allergies Health Center

Font Size

Allergic Rhinitis - Exams and Tests

Your doctor can usually diagnose allergic rhinitis by examining you and asking you questions about your symptoms, activities, and home. If your doctor thinks that you have allergic rhinitis, and you don't have complications, he or she may decide to treat your symptoms without doing lab tests. The doctor will then check your symptoms again later.

But you may need further testing if:

Recommended Related to Allergies

Allergies During the Holidays

Pass the tissues and antihistamine please -- 'tis the season for holiday allergies. Like unwanted gifts, sneezing and congestion arrive, making allergy sufferers miserable and putting a damper on holiday fun. Fortunately you don't have to be sidelined from the festivities. Whether it's symptoms to food, pets, mold or mildew, allergies during the holidays can be beat -- with lifestyle changes, medication, and a few simple tips.

Read the Allergies During the Holidays article > >

  • You and your doctor need to find out exactly what things you are allergic to so that you can take steps to avoid them.
  • Treatment is not helping your symptoms.
  • You have severe symptoms.
  • You are considering allergy shots (immunotherapy).

For further testing, your doctor may suggest that you have allergy tests. For example, a skin test can show how your skin reacts to an allergen. Or a blood test can measure the level of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, which your body makes in response to certain allergens.

These tests can help your doctor know whether allergic rhinitis is causing your symptoms and find the best treatment. They can also help your doctor see if you have complications, such as sinusitis or asthma.

Other tests for allergies

In most cases, you do not need testing. But your doctor may suggest some tests to make sure that another condition is not causing your symptoms. These tests include:

  • Imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. These tests can show if you have a sinus infection (sinusitis), chronic inflammation (thickening) of the sinus lining, structural defects of the nose, or, in rare cases, cancer.
  • Rhinoscopy or nasal endoscopy. Both of these tests look for nasal polyps and other problems that may block the nasal cavity.
  • Mucociliary clearance testing. This test looks for abnormal cilia in people who have very thick nasal discharge. Cilia are tiny hairs on the lining of the nasal passages. These tiny hairs beat back and forth to remove particles from the nose. Certain rare diseases can cause problems in the cilia, which can lead to more nasal discharge.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    man blowing nose
    Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
    Allergy capsule
    Breathe easier with these products.
     
    cat on couch
    Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
    Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
    Which ones affect you?
     

    blowing nose
    Article
    woman with sore throat
    Article
     
    lone star tick
    Slideshow
    Woman blowing nose
    Slideshow
     

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

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

    cat lying on shelf
    Article
    Allergy prick test
    VIDEO
     
    Man sneezing into tissue
    Assessment
    Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching
    Quiz