What is the role of lab tests in the workup of allergic rhinitis?

Updated: Jul 26, 2021
  • Author: Quoc A Nguyen, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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The diagnosis of allergic rhinitis is based on the history, and tests are used only to confirm atopy.

Nasal cytologic studies may be needed.

  • Nasal secretions are stained with hematoxylin and eosin.

  • In general, the presence of eosinophils and goblet cells is suggestive of allergy, whereas the presence of neutrophils and bacteria is characteristic of infection.

An elevated eosinophil count can occur in patients with asthma, nonallergic rhinitis with eosinophilia syndrome (NARES), and parasitic infection. Therefore, this finding is not specific to allergic rhinitis.

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