Why didn’t my test results didn’t detect any allergies?
If your allergy test didn't detect any allergies, you're not alone. 50% of patients who suffer from allergy-like symptoms including congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and postnatal drip may not have allergies. ¹ This is called non-allergic rhinitis, and while learning that your symptoms are not derived from an allergic trigger can be discouraging, we understand your suffering is real and this condition can greatly impact your quality of life. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help relieve these symptoms.
Can I be confident in my test results?
Rest assured, we’re committed to offering the highest quality testing for allergen-specific IgE levels and are confident in the test results provided. We partner with a CLIA-certified lab and use instruments from PerkinElmer, an industry leader for finger prick allergy testing, to process your test results.
Another factor to consider is that your results can differ from past tests. Many forms of testing can return varied results depending on the technology, collection type, and testing processes. Allergies can also develop or evolve, especially if you have started allergy treatments or your body develops tolerance to an allergen over time. With all of this in mind, the technology we utilize generates some of the most accurate and precise IgE testings on the market.
What exactly is non-allergic rhinitis?
Firstly, rhinitis is the clinical name for many of the upper respiratory symptoms you might experience like sneezing, postnasal drip, nasal congestion, runny nose, and a weakened sense of smell.
As the name suggests, allergic rhinitis is nasal inflammation caused by allergen exposure. Non-allergic rhinitis is similar in that you still experience inflammation of the nasal tissues, but it is not triggered by allergens. The symptoms and suffering you experience are legitimate, but it is different from allergies.
Why does it happen?
Non-allergic rhinitis occurs from a buildup of fluid that causes nasal passages to become inflamed and swollen either spontaneously or from exposure to a trigger. According to Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Research, there are many things that can trigger a non-allergic rhinitis response, like changes in weather, smoke from tobacco or wildfires, and irritants with strong chemicals or odors. ² While people are often triggered by changes in temperature, barometric pressure, and weather, the most common cause of nonallergic rhinitis is an acute viral infection better known as the common cold.³
We’ve listed common triggers below:
- ACE inhibitors used to treat high blood pressure (such as Lisinopril or Enalapril)
- Changes in temperature
- Hormone medications such as birth control
- Misuse of illicit drugs that are inhaled through the nose (such as cocaine)
- Spicy foods
- Viral illnesses
Can it be treated?
Yes! Non-allergic rhinitis is a treatable condition, although not by allergy immunotherapy. Symptoms can be managed by first understanding the cause and avoiding triggers, where possible, lifestyle modifications, and medical therapies when needed. For example, if you’re triggered by certain perfumes, avoiding those scents can help reduce your symptoms. If it’s a matter of dry air, adding humidity to your home with a humidifier, or using saline nasal rinses can be helpful.
Doctors often recommend corticosteroid nasal sprays and intranasal antihistamines as the most helpful treatment for many cases of non-allergic rhinitis.⁴ If you don’t experience relief using one or the other, combining both treatments may bring relief. We also hope to launch our own custom nasal sprays in the future so stay tuned.
If you have any further questions about non-allergic rhinitis or your allergy test results, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always happy to help.
¹ Lieberman P. Rhinitis. In: Bone RC, ed. Current practice of medicine. vol 2. Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone 1996; VII:5.1–VII:5.10.
² Tran, Nguyen P et al. “Management of rhinitis: allergic and non-allergic.” Allergy, asthma & immunology research vol. 3,3 (2011): 148-56. doi:10.4168/aair.2011.3.3.148
³ Quillen, David M, and David B Feller. “Diagnosing rhinitis: allergic vs. nonallergic.” American family physician vol. 73,9 (2006): 1583-90.
⁴ Settipane, Russell A, and Michael A Kaliner. “Chapter 14: Nonallergic rhinitis.” American journal of rhinology & allergy vol. 27 Suppl 1 (2013): S48-51. doi:10.2500/ajra.2013.27.3927