Diagnosis of Allergic Rhinitis

The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. It is helpful to know when symptoms appear and what was happening at the time. Your doctor may look inside your nose for signs of swelling and irritation. The diagnosis can be made based on symptoms. The doctor may suspect what is causing the problem. Tests may be done to confirm allergens or to help guide treatment. Tests may include:

  • Skin test—A tiny amount of a substance is placed under the skin. Different substances will be placed in different spots. The skin will be raised, red, and itchy if the body reacts to that substance.
  • RAST blood test—A blood sample will be taken. The blood will be examined for antibodies. This will show what substances your body will react to. Blood tests can be used when skin tests are not available or unsafe.
  • Nasal smear—A sample of the inside of your nose may be taken. It can be looked at in a lab to find a cause.


Allergic rhinitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/allergic-rhinitis. Updated July 9, 2018. Accessed February 14, 2020.
Allergic rhinitis treatment. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America website. Available at: https://www.aafa.org/allergy-treatments/. Updated March 2018. Accessed February 14, 2020.
Allergy shots. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website. Available at: https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/allergy-shots-(immunotherapy). Accessed February 14, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 10/27/2020

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