Your doctor will ask detailed questions about your personal and family medical history, your signs and symptoms, and your usual way of treating them. Your doctor will also perform a physical examination to look for additional clues about the causes of your signs and symptoms. He or she may also recommend one or both of the following tests:
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- Skin prick test. During skin testing, small amounts of material that can trigger allergies are pricked into the skin of your arm or upper back and you're observed for signs of an allergic reaction. If you're allergic, you develop a raised bump (hive) at the test location on your skin. Allergy specialists usually are best equipped to perform allergy skin tests.
- Allergy blood test. A blood test, sometimes called the radioallergosorbent test (RAST), can measure your immune system's response to a specific allergen. The test measures the amount of allergy-causing antibodies in your bloodstream, known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. A blood sample is sent to a medical laboratory, where it can be tested for evidence of sensitivity to possible allergens.
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- McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2012. 51st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2356. Accessed April 1, 2012.
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- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=9136197. Accessed April 1, 2012.
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- Rhinitis and sinusitis. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=18&cont=239. Accessed March 30, 2012.
- Montelukast sodium. Micromedex Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedex.com. Accessed April 2, 2012.
- Naegleria FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/faqs.html. Accessed Dec. 30, 2011.
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- Allergic rhinitis (hayfever). Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed April 2, 2012.
- Li JT (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 3, 2012.