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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 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


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 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 ok 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?


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, Barrody 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 Mosby; 2014:chap 42.

Review Date: 2/15/2015
Reviewed By: Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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