Indoor Allergy Causes, Symptoms, and Relief

Make your home more comfortable by reducing common allergy triggers.

There’s no place like home … for allergies! Just stepping indoors — at home, work, or school — exposes you to numerous allergens. An allergen is any substance which produces an allergic reaction. Millions of people suffer year-round because of indoor allergens.¹

The most common sources of indoor allergies are dust mites, indoor mould and pets.

Here’s what “allergy” actually means

An allergic reaction is the result of your immune system responding to an allergen, which it basically recognises as an irritant. When your body responds to an allergen, it produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). That causes your cells to release chemicals to rid the body of allergens. All those allergic symptoms — the sneezing, coughing and congestion – are evidence of your body’s self-defence.

Signs and symptoms of indoor allergies

An allergic reaction is the result of your immune system going on the defensive. When it detects an allergen, it produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). In response, your cells release chemicals to fight the allergens, which result in your allergy symptoms. 2

The most typical symptoms of indoor allergies include: 4

  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion or stuffiness

Here’s where most indoor allergens hide:³

  • Damp and humid areas
  • Indoor plants
  • Pets
  • Pillows and bedding
  • Plush furniture
  • Plush toys
  • Unsealed mattresses
  • Wall-to-wall carpet

The most common indoor allergy triggers

Dust mites

House dust mites are a major source of allergies worldwide. Mite-related allergens are more commonly airborne, and inhalation of these allergens is the most common way of exposure. Not as common, but mite-contaminated food can also be a source of allergic reactions.

How to control dust mites:

  • Keep surfaces clean and uncluttered
  • Avoid wall-to-wall carpet — use low-pile carpets, washable rugs, hardwood, linoleum, or tile
  • Avoid heavy curtains
  • Avoid overstuffed furniture
  • Use sealed, allergen-resistant covers on your pillows and mattress
  • Wash bedding, pillows, and stuffed toys in water that’s at least 50°C; dry them in a tumble dryer (6)

Indoor mould

The common indoor mould and mildew that cause allergies thrive in dampness. You’ll find them in moist bathrooms, around windows or anywhere with leaks.4

How to reduce indoor mould

  • Reduce moisture in the bathroom, kitchen, and basement
  • Don’t run showers too long before hopping in
  • Limit the number of house plants, and ensure proper drainage
  • Fix leaks quickly
  • Remove mould from hard surfaces with water and detergent or, if necessary, 5% bleach; let them dry completely (5)

Pet dander

There are no breeds of dogs or cats that are 100% allergen-free — not even the hairless ones. That’s because you don’t react to fur, but to allergens in saliva, dander (skin flakes), or urine. 7

How to manage pet dander

  • Avoid direct contact with pets
  • Keep pets out of your bedroom
  • Wash and change pet beds and toys often
  • Bathe and brush your pets often — and wear a mask when you groom them
  • Wash your hands after handling pets
  • Frequently wipe and vacuum spaces where your pets spend time
  • ​​​Before getting a pet, get tested to determine if you are allergic to animals

A couple extra tips to minimise indoor allergens

It’s nearly impossible to completely avoid indoor allergens. But there are ways to reduce them.3

  • Keep the air as clean as possible 
  • Increase the flow of outdoor air
  • Reduce humidity
  • Use air cleaners with certified allergy and asthma filters
  • Vacuum the home frequently using a certified asthma and allergy friendly vacuum.
  • Wear a mask while doing housework
  • Leave the house for several hours after cleaning it

MAT-XU-2304687 (v1.0) October 2023

This article is not a substitute for medical advice. Allevia should be used as directed according to the product label. If you suspect that you have allergies, consult with your doctor or pharmacist. Only they can make a proper diagnosis.

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