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Hay fever diagnosis

2-minute read

Your doctor should be able to diagnose hay fever from a description of your symptoms. If possible, keep a diary of what times of the day or year you experience your symptoms, as this can help with the diagnosis.

You may also be referred to a clinical immunology or allergy specialist for further assessment, including allergy testing such as a skin prick test. This test involves pricking the surface of your skin with a needle through which a droplet of the allergen is placed onto the skin. This introduces the allergen to your immune system and, if you are allergic to it, you should have a reaction in the skin.

If your skin starts to go red around where it was pricked, swells up or becomes itchy, this could be an allergic reaction and would confirm that you have been sensitised to the allergen in question.

A skin prick test may not be suitable if:

  • you are on certain medications, for example antihistamines, which will stop you having an allergic reaction
  • you have significant eczema as your skin may already be red or itchy, which means an allergic reaction will not be noticeable

A blood test to check for the presence of the Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody may also be necessary to confirm your diagnosis. Your body produces this antibody when it comes into contact with an allergen.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your hay fever, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: June 2019

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