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.