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What to Do if You Suspect an Indoor Allergy

Millions of people in the U.S. have indoor allergies. They're allergic to things like:

  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites
  • Mold spores
  • Cockroaches

Could you have an indoor allergy? The signs include:

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  • Stuffy or runny nose, itchy eyes, and cough.
  • Year-round symptoms. Seasonal outdoor allergies -- like ragweed -- are 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 exposed to whatever indoors it is you’re allergic to. If you have forced air heat, allergens inside the air ducts may also be blowing into the air.

Seeing a 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 see what's causing your symptoms.

Once you know what you're allergic to, your doctor may recommend 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 symptoms get worse after your basement flooded, which could have caused mold to grow? Did they get better when you were on vacation? This information could help your doctor sort out what's causing your allergies. 
  • Allergy-proof your bedroom. Allergy-proofing your whole house takes a lot of time and money. Start by making changes in your bedroom. You spend more time in that one room than anywhere else.
  • Remove common triggers. In your bedroom, clean up clutter. Keep your pets out. Get rid of drapes and area rugs that catch dust. If making changes in your bedroom seems to help after a few weeks, think about allergy-proofing more of your house.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on November 15, 2012

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