How do I know if my allergy symptoms are from allergies?

The three main causes of allergy symptoms are allergic rhinitis, irritant rhinitis or a combination of both (called mixed rhinitis). Allergic rhinitis is caused by a component of your immune system called the immunoglobin E (IgE) antibody. The cause of nonallergic rhinitis or irritant rhinitis s is a direct irritation of your nose. There is no way to tell them apart by just asking questions, not even for an allergist.

Allergy testing (either skin test or blood test) determines which of these is the underlying cause of your allergy symptoms. Allergic rhinitis is an immune system response that has positive allergy tests (either scratch test or blood test). Irritant rhinitis is a nonimmune response that has negative (normal) allergy tests.

It's important to know what causes your symptoms, because the right diagnosis will lead to the right treatment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.