Indoor allergy symptoms and signs you might have them
An allergic reaction happens when your body detects a small substance that your immune system classifies as a threat. These small but powerful antigens are called allergens. The reaction can happen when you inhale allergens or when allergens land on your skin. Your cells release chemicals called histamines that cause a reaction — which causes allergy symptoms.1
One of the most prevalent triggers are dust mites — microscopic pests that love the indoors and warm humid environments such as bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpet.1
Keep surfaces clean
Avoid wall-to-wall carpet — try throw rugs that can be washed regularly
Place mattresses, box springs, and pillows in allergen-resistant fabric covers
Wash bedding, pillows, and stuffed toys weekly in hot water (at least 130°F) and dry in a hot dryer
Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce humidity
Indoor mold and mildew flourishes in damp places such as basements, bathrooms, and anywhere leaks occur, such as underneath the kitchen sink.1
Reduce moisture in damp areas with proper ventilation
Clean humidifiers and dehumidifiers to prevent mildew from forming
Fix leaks quickly
Don’t place carpet over concrete or in damp places
Remove mold from hard surfaces with water and detergent or, if necessary, 5% bleach; let surfaces dry completely
While some pet breeds are deemed hypoallergenic, there are none that are really 100% hypoallergenic. Beyond fur, allergens live in animal saliva, pet dander (dead skin flakes), and urine. Typically, pet allergy symptoms start within minutes of contact.1
Minimize physical contact with animals and wash off after handling them
Keep pets off of clothing and furniture fabrics
Vacuum carpets and keep hardwood floors, tile, and linoleum clean
If you have hamster, mouse, guinea pig, or rabbit allergies, let someone without allergies clean the animal’s cage
Schedule a regular extermination service
Block all areas where they can enter your home — every window, crack, and crevice
Repair leaky faucets and pipes
Keep surfaces crumb-free
Use lidded waste bins
Seal open food — including pet food
Extra tips to prevent indoor allergies
There’s no way to completely avoid exposure to allergens, but it’s important to minimize it when possible. Be mindful of indoor allergens when you're inside — for instance in your living room, garage, basement, attic, or even in the car. Prolonged exposure to indoor allergens is a risk factor for allergic respiratory diseases such as asthma.3
Keep indoor areas well ventilated — use fans to increase airflow
Use air purifiers with certified allergy and asthma filters
Keep windows and doors closed when pollen counts are high
Check the pollen forecast regularly if you experience seasonal allergies
Wear a mask when cleaning
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1. Andrew Moore, MD, reviewed. Indoor Allergens, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (aaaai.org), September 28, 2020. Accessed March 2, 2022.
2. Editors. Hay Fever / Rhinitis, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (aaaai.org). Accessed March 2, 2022.
3. Anna Pomés, Martin D. Chapman, Sabrina Wünschmann. Indoor Allergens and Allergic Respiratory Disease, PMC/US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, June 2016. Accessed March 2, 2022.
4. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Ed. Control Allergens to Improve Indoor Air Quality, Reviewed by Medical Scientific Council, 2015. Accessed March 2, 2022.
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