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Allergic rhinitis - what to ask your doctor - adult

Definition

Allergies to pollen, dust mites, and animal dander in the nose and nasal passages are called allergic rhinitis. Hay fever is another word often used for this problem. Symptoms are usually a watery, runny nose and itching in your nose. Allergies can also bother your eyes.

Below are questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of your allergies.

Alternative Names

What to ask your doctor about allergic rhinitis - adult; Hay fever - what to ask your doctor - adult; Allergies - what to ask your doctor - adult; Allergic conjunctivitis - what to ask your doctor

Questions

What am I allergic to?

  • Will my symptoms feel worse inside or outside?
  • At what time of year will my symptoms feel worse?

Do I need allergy tests?

What sort of changes should I make around my home?

  • Can I have a pet? In the house or outside? How about in the bedroom?
  • Is it OK for anyone to smoke in the house? How about if I am not in the house at the time?
  • Is it OK for me to clean and vacuum in the house?
  • Is it OK to have carpets in the house? What type of furniture is best to have?
  • How do I get rid of dust and mold in the house? Do I need to cover my bed or pillows with allergen proof casings?
  • How do I know if I have cockroaches? How do I get rid of them?
  • Can I have a fire in my fireplace or wood burning stove?

How do I find out when smog or pollution is worse in my area?

Am I taking my allergy medicines the right way?

  • What are the side effects of my medicines? For what side effects should I call the doctor?
  • Can I use nasal spray that I can buy without a prescription?

If I also have asthma:

  • I'm taking my control drug every day. Is this the right way to take it? What should I do if I miss a day?
  • I take my quick-relief drug when my allergy symptoms come on suddenly. Is this the right way to take it? Is it OK to use this drug daily?
  • How will I know when my inhaler is getting empty? Am I using my inhaler the right way? Is it safe to use an inhaler with corticosteroids?

Do I need allergy shots?

What vaccinations do I need?

What sort of changes do I need to make at work?

What exercises are better for me to do? Are there times when I should avoid exercising outside? Are there things that I can do for my allergies before I start exercising?

What should I do when I know I'm going to be around something that makes my allergies worse?

References

Borish L. Allergic rhinitis and chronic sinusitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 251.

Corren J, Baroody FM, Pawankar R. Allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. In: Adkinson NF Jr., Bochner BS, Burks AW, et al, eds. In: Middleton's Allergy: Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 42.

Review Date:1/26/2017
Reviewed By:Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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