Allergic Rhinitis

Diagnosis Of Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a disorder commonly linked to asthma and conjunctivitis. It can often go undetected in the initial stage.

While trying to diagnose your problem, the doctor will ask detailed questions about, personal and family’s medical history, lifestyle, eating habits, work and home environment and the frequency as well as the severity of the symptoms you face. The doctor will also examine you and depending on what makes your symptoms worse or better, the doctor will know whether you have allergic rhinitis or some other problem.

The doctor may check the inside of your nose to detect nasal polyps, which is an unusual swelling from the lining of your nose or sinuses. This can be a condition caused due to having hay fever. If your Symptoms are severe, your doctor might ask you to get an allergy test done, so as to find out what you are allergic to. To know the exact cause of allergic rhinitis and to confirm this condition, the doctor may recommend a few specialized blood tests and skin tests for allergic rhinitis diagnosis

The procedure for diagnosing allergic rhinitis is mainly dependent on the symptoms reported by a person. The additional tests are required to know the exact cause/trigger of allergic rhinitis. These tests involve exposing the person to certain allergens and check if any reaction takes place.

The tests that can help in the appropriate diagnosis of allergic rhinitis are:

  • Skin Test

    The skin test is also known as a prick or scratch test and is the most common type of skin test done to detect allergies. In this test, a person’s skin is pricked or scratched before exposure to a solution which contains allergens. If the person has an allergy, the reaction will be evident is 10-20 minutes.

  • Intradermal test

    This test is one of the most accurate and effective ways to diagnose allergic rhinitis, and to know if the person is suffering from any other allergies. Allergens, such as weed pollen or grass, are injected in the skin. After 20 minutes, the skin is monitored for any allergic reaction that is caused due to the allergen, this may involve the skin turning red or feeling an itchy sensation.

  • Blood test

    At times it can be risky to do a skin test for severe reactions and to detect or confirm the allergy. Your doctor may recommend a blood test. In the blood test, the level of Immunoglobulin (IgE) antibody is observed when different allergens are exposed to the blood. If the level of IgE increases after being exposed to allergens, it is more likely that the person is allergic to that particular allergen. His or her condition can be triggered by that allergen. The results of blood tests are generally less accurate than skin tests.

In a few cases, further tests may be needed to identify other complications such as sinusitis or nasal polyps. These tests can help to detect further complications:

  • Nasal Endoscopy – In this test, a tube with a light source at one end and a video camera at the other end (endoscope) is inserted up in the nose which helps the doctor to see the inside of your nose.
  • Nasal Inspiratory Flow Test – A small device is placed on your nose and mouth, which measures the airflow when you inhale through the nose.
  • Nasal Swab – This test is used to test the fluid from your nose for allergic rhinitis.

What Is The Link Between Allergic Rhinitis and Cold?

At times, it can be difficult to identify if the symptoms are due to a cold or due to an allergy. There are various kinds of cold viruses and these viruses tend to be very common at a certain time of the year, this is why one can mistake a cold for a seasonal allergy. Allergies, in general can be developed at anytime of the year and may usually last for 2-3 weeks. Colds can last for about one or two weeks and itching is not a significant sign of cold, unlike allergies. To know more differences between allergic rhinitis and cold, read about the allergic rhinitis symptoms.

You can consult your doctor for the right care plan and further treatment of allergic rhinitis.

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