Hayfever (rhinitis) occurs when the lining of your nose is inflamed. This causes your nose to block up, run or itch and can make you sneeze. Hayfever contracted during summer can be caused by an allergy to grass pollen.

However, not all rhinitis is caused by allergies. Some non-allergic rhinitis can include structural problems in the nose, including:

  • Deviated nasal septum (where the top of the cartilaginous ridge is not centered, causing an obstruction in the nasal passage)
  • Perforated septum (a medical condition in which the membrane that divides the nostrils develops a hole or fissure)
  • Adenoidal hypertrophy (unusual growth of the pharyngeal tonsil (adenoid), located at the back of the nose, that can obstruct airflow).

Other non-allergic rhinitis causes can be inflammatory problems, such as nasal polyps (swelling of the normal nasal lining, located inside the spaces behind the nose, eyes and cheeks).

Some medication that you take for other conditions can also cause, or contribute to, rhinitis.


Rhinosinusitis is a complex condition of hayfever. It involves the inflammation of the sinuses as well as to the lining of the nose. Typical symptoms can include:

  • Nasal blockage and congestion
  • Pain and discomfort on the face
  • Nasal discharge, either from the front of the nose or a post-nasal drip.

Many of the rhinosinusitis causes are the same as non-allergic rhinitis.

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 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