Your healthcare provider can often diagnose allergies just by having you describe your symptoms and doing a quick physical exam.
Symptoms that are common with allergies include a runny nose, stuffy nose, sneezing, and itching of the eyes, ears, and throat.
Your healthcare provider will also ask about other symptoms that are not common with allergies, but with other conditions, like the common cold.
One of these symptoms is fever. You might think, because seasonal allergies are often called "hay fever", that fever is common in people with allergies. This is not the case. In fact, the name hay fever came from doctors in the early 19th century who noticed people having symptoms during the fall "haying" season.
Back in the day, doctors didn't know about the common cold or flu viruses. So symptoms such as a runny nose and sneezing were just lumped into the general term "hay fever".
Another question your healthcare provider will ask is if you notice symptoms during certain times of the year. Doctors split allergies caused by allergens in the air into two general types - seasonal allergies and year-round allergies.
As the names imply, seasonal allergies are those that occur or get worse during a particular time of year. Year-round allergies are allergies that can occur all-year long.
• 11 percent of people have seasonal allergies
• 33 percent have year round allergies with symptoms that get worse during certain seasons
• 56 percent have year round allergies that do not get worse during certain seasons.
Finally, in some cases, skin testing and/or other tests may be recommended to help diagnose whether a person has allergies and what they are allergic to. Skin testing is often done if:
• Your symptoms aren't relieved by medications
• You have other allergic conditions, such as asthma, eczema, or repeated sinus infections
• You have year-round symptoms
• The cause of your allergies is not obvious and/or
• Your doctor thinks your symptoms may be caused by another health problem.