People with hay fever (rhinitis) have inflamed lining in their nose, which causes it to be blocked, running and itchy, as well as causing sneezing. Many cases of rhinitis are due to allergy; for example, summer hay fever is caused by grass pollen allergy. However, not all rhinitis is caused by allergies. There are a number of different causes of non-allergic rhinitis, including structural problems in the nose, such as a deviated nasal septum, perforated septum or adenoidal hypertrophy, or inflammatory problems, such as nasal polyps. Medication taken for other conditions can also cause rhinitis.  

What is rhinosinusitis?

Rhinosinusitis is a more complex condition. It involves inflammation of the sinuses in addition to the lining of the nose. Symptoms typically include nasal blockage and congestion, facial pain and discomfort, and nasal discharge, either from the front of the nose or as a post-nasal drip. Many of the causes are the same as for non-allergic rhinitis. 

Nose clinic

Patients who are referred with rhinitis or rhinosinusitis are seen in our joint medical-surgical nose clinic. This clinic has both allergy doctors and ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeons from Charing Cross Hospital. They will take a full history of the problem and may also undertake other tests, such as allergy skin prick testslung function testing and examination of the nose using an endoscope. Other tests may be necessary, including blood tests and CT (computed tomography) scans of the sinuses. Following a diagnosis, if surgery is needed, this will also be arranged in the clinic, but will take place at Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith.

Skin prick testing

Skin prick testing is a universal allergy test and often used to find out what is causing an allergy. 

Oral food challenge

Oral food challenges are tests that use suspected food allergens. The foods that we most commonly test are peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish.

Drug challenge testing

This form of testing comprises of a series of tests to see if you are allergic to certain drugs, all under close medical supervision. 

Molecular diagnosis

Molecular diagnosis covers tests which can assess whether someone has antibodies against a particular protein in a food which causes an allergic reaction.

Nose clinic tests

Patients coming to the nose clinic will have a number of tests, often including an examination using an endoscope, skin prick testing, chest peak expiratory flow and spirometry.

Nasal sprays

Corticosteroid nasal sprays or drops are the most effective standard treatment for hay fever and other nasal allergies. 


Antihistamines prevent histamine causing the itching and swelling that occurs when you have allergies.

Allergen immunotherapy

Allergen immunotherapy is a treatment in which the allergen that triggers an allergic reaction is given in order to suppress unnecessary reactions.

Allergy team contact information


Fulham wing/South block, Fulham Road

Tel: 020 7351 8892
Fax: 020 7351 8949