From 1 July 1990 to 31 December 1991, all patients referred to the Allergy Section of the ENT Department, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden, (n = 678) answered a 134-item questionnaire presented on the screen of a personal computer by pressing Y (for yes) or N (for no) on the keyboard. The objective of this study was to compare the questionnaire responses from patients with allergic rhinitis (AR) with those of patients with perennial nonallergic rhinitis or vasomotor rhinitis (VMR). Nasal blockage was the predominant symptom in the VMR group, whereas the AR patients mainly suffered from eye irritation, sneezing, and, to some extent, rhinorrhea. Concomitant asthma was more prevalent in the AR group than in the VMR group, whose histories were characterized by symptoms associated with airway infections. About 60% of both groups reported problems with such nonspecific airway irritants as cigarette smoke and perfumes. With respect to the diagnostic reliability of the history, in the AR group the order of accuracy (according to the skin prick test results) of reported hypersensitivity to allergens was as follows: cat > timothy > birch > dust mite > mugwort. A history of hypersensitivity to molds as a cause of symptoms was of no diagnostic value. The findings suggest that there are several differences in the medical histories of AR and VMR patients that merit further investigation.