Learn about common indoor allergy triggers and find out how to help keep them in check, so you can enjoy your home year-round.
Your home should be a refuge. But for people with Indoor allergies, it can also be the source of pesky allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and itchy, watery eyes. Indoor allergies can happen any time of the year. However, since many people spend more time inside during colder months, indoor allergies can be especially troublesome in the winter.
Select an allergy to learn more:
INDOOR ALLERGY SYMPTOMS
Itchy, Watery Eyes
Allergy testing by an allergist can confirm whether your symptoms are caused by dust mites, pet dander or mould.
If furry friends give you a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes, it's not their fur that causes the allergic reaction. It's the proteins found in the animal's dander (dead skin cells), saliva or urine. These allergy-triggering particles are transported to the pet hair or fur, where we touch dogs and cats most often. These particles are so light that they can be transported in the air and carried on your clothes and hair.
DID YOU KNOW?
Most people think of dogs and cats when it comes to pet allergies. But the allergy-causing proteins in pet dander can also be found in hamsters, rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs and more.1
Tips for Pet Allergy Sufferers
HAVE A PLAN
Be aware of potential exposure to pets you may be allergic to. When visiting a friend's home, ask if they have pets in advance, so you will be prepared with allergy medicine should your allergy symptoms strike.
ESTABLISH PET-FREE AREAS
Keep pets out of your bedroom and consider keeping your pet in certain areas of the house.
RINSE AND REPEAT
If you have a pet, giving him or her regular baths can help reduce the allergen count on them.
WASH YOUR HANDS
After touching a pet, keep your hands away from your eyes until you've had a chance to wash them.
CHOOSE PETS WISELY
Cats may cause more allergy problems than dogs simply because they lick their fur or skin a lot, spreading the allergen onto their bodies. But remember, even animals that don't shed can cause pet allergy symptoms. Fish, hermit crabs, iguanas and turtles make good choices as pets for allergy sufferers.
A common trigger for indoor allergies, dust mites are found in the dust particles that collect naturally around your home. These microscopic creatures live off our dead skin cells, hiding in household fabrics, such as pillows, mattresses, upholstered furniture, blankets and carpets.
Dust mites don’t drink water. Instead, they absorb water from the humidity in the air.2 This is why dust mites are more prevalent in humid areas of your home and during the summer months. However, if you live in a warmer, more humid climate, dust mites could be prevalent year-round.
Tips for Dust Allergy Sufferers
REDUCE DUST BUNNIES
Wash all bedding and blankets once a week in hot water (at least 130°F/55°C). 4 Always follow washing directions. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or double bag and dust with a damp sponge or mop regularly. And be sure to wear a dust mask and gloves while cleaning to help reduce your exposure to dust allergens.
CHECK THE LABEL
Choose pillows, mattresses and furniture labeled hypoallergenic.
Use anti-allergen covers on mattresses, box springs and pillows.
TAKE IT OUT
Remove wall-to-wall carpets from the bedroom, if possible.
Keep the relative humidity in your home below 50 percent. You can get a hygrometer (humidity monitor) at many hardware stores to measure your home’s humidity.4 When it’s humid, place a dehumidifier in damp areas to keep humidity in check.
A mould allergy comes from microscopic mould spores that float in the air like pollen. Indoor moulds shed spores all year and are found lurking in damp spots, such as basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms, attics, refrigerators and windowsills. Since mould thrives in damp spaces, mould allergy symptoms may be more common during the summer months when it’s hot and humid.
Tips for Mould Allergy Sufferers
Help prevent mould with regular bathroom, laundry room and basement cleanings. Don’t leave damp laundry lying in the washing machine for long periods of time. Wash shower curtains and bathroom tiles, grouting and fixtures with mould-killing and mould-preventing solutions. Use machine washable bath mats in the bathroom.
KEEP HUMIDITY IN CHECK
Keep the humidity in your house below 50% to help discourage mould growth. If humidity is high, use air conditioners and dehumidifiers. You can also use an exhaust fan over the stove and in the bathroom to remove extra humidity from cooking and showering.5
DON’T FORGET THE FRIDGE
Clean the refrigerator and empty the water pan regularly. Discard spoiling food promptly to help minimize mould growth.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
Mould doesn't like sunlight, so try to keep your curtains or shades open during the day.
CHECK THE LABEL
Sweat can make pillows, mattresses and furniture filled with foam rubber mouldy. So be sure to check the label of your bedding and bedding covers for hypoallergenic.
Pet Allergy. Mayo Clinic. Accessed September 10, 2017.
Dust Mite Allergy. Mayo Clinic. Accessed September 10, 2017.
Allergy Dust Mites. ENT and Allergy Center of Missouri. University Physicians. University of Missouri Health Center.
Your Home Can Be Your Castle—Despite Pesky Dust Allergens! Claritin Blue Sky Living. Accessed September 10, 2017.
Watch Out for Summer Mold. Claritin Blue Sky Living. Accessed September 10, 2017.