What is the role of allergy testing in the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis (hay fever)?

Updated: May 18, 2018
  • Author: Javed Sheikh, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Answer

Testing for reaction to specific allergens can be helpful to confirm the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis and to determine specific allergic triggers. If specific allergic triggers are known, then appropriate avoidance measures can be recommended. It is essential to know which allergens a patient is sensitive to in order to perform allergen immunotherapy (desensitization treatment). To an extent, allergy testing provides knowledge of the degree of sensitivity to a particular allergen. The most commonly used methods of determining allergy to a particular substance are allergy skin testing (testing for immediate hypersensitivity reactions) and in vitro diagnostic tests, such as the fluorescence enzyme immunoassay (FEIA), for example ImmunoCAP, which indirectly measures the quantity of specific IgE to a particular antigen.


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