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Allergic rhinitis - what to ask your doctor - adult

Allergies to pollen, dust mites, and animal dander in the nose and nasal passages are also 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 some questions you may want to ask your doctor or nurse to help you take care of your allergies.

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 okay for anyone to smoke in the house? How about if I’m not in the house at the time?
  • Is it okay for me to clean and vacuum in the house?
  • Is it okay 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?
  • 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 drugs should I be taking every day (called controller drugs)? What should I do if I miss a day?
  • Which drugs should I take when my allergies suddenly get worse (called relief drugs)? Is it okay to use these drugs every day?
  • What are the side effects of my medicines? For what side effects should I call the doctor?
  • 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?
  • Can I use nasal spray that I can buy without a prescription?

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?

Alternate 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

References

Lund, VJ, Baroody FM, Naclerio RM. PART 4: Sinus, rhinology, and allergy/immunology. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 40.

Borish L. Allergic rhinitis and sinusitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elseveier; 2011:chap 259.

Update Date: 1/23/2013

Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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