You don't have to head out to the great outdoors to get allergy symptoms. If you're stuffed up, sneeze, or get itchy eyes all from the comfort of your home, you may have an indoor allergy. It's triggered by things like pet dander, dust mites, mold spores, and cockroaches.
For lots of people, allergy treatment is reactive. You get stuffed up, your eyes water, and then you go to the medicine cabinet for relief. But many doctors say that we’ve got it the wrong way around. Instead, we should be taking the medicine before we have symptoms. Call it allergy pretreatment.
“We always tell people to start taking medicine before the allergy season begins,” says Jonathan A. Bernstein MD, an allergist and professor of clinical medicine at the University of Cincinnati. “People...
Year-round symptoms. Seasonal hay fever is a problem only at certain times of the year. Indoor allergies may cause symptoms that never go away.
Symptoms that get worse in colder months. When it's cold, you spend more time indoors, so you're more likely to come into contact with your allergy triggers. Your home's heating system can also cause problems. Allergens inside air ducts can blow into the air.
See Your Doctor
It's hard to tell on your own what triggers your indoor allergies. There are lots of possibilities.
Schedule an appointment with an allergist. You may need testing to figure out what causes your symptoms.
Once you know what you're allergic to, your doctor may suggest medication or other treatment.
Other Tips for Identifying Indoor Allergens
Keep a record. When symptoms flare up, note where and when and what was going on. Were you around possible allergens? Did your problems get worse after your basement flooded, which could have caused mold to grow? Did they get better when you were on vacation? This info could help your doctor figure out your allergy triggers.
Allergy-proof your bedroom. Start by making changes there. You spend more time in that one room than anywhere else. Clean up clutter. Keep your pets out. Get rid of drapes and area rugs that catch dust. If those changes seems to help after a few weeks, take similar steps in other rooms.