You come home after a day away, step into the house, and the symptoms hit: Watery eyes, scratchy throat, congestion. Could it be indoor allergies?
Allergies are very common. An estimated 50 million Americans are allergic to everything from dust and dander, to mold and mites.
But what about you? How can you be sure you have indoor allergies -- and pinpoint what’s causing them? To help you understand what’s behind your allergy symptoms, WebMD got tips from experts on how to recognize common allergy...
Keep your pet outside of the house or at least out of your bedroom. Keep your pet in areas of the home that have hard floors that are easier to clean than carpeted floors.
At least once a week, clean birdcages, rodent cages, or areas where pets sleep.
Dust and vacuum often. If you can, do this when the person who has an allergy or asthma is not at home. Use a static cloth for dusting, and use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which helps keep dust off carpets and floors and out of the air.
Keep air registers closed if you have a pet. This will reduce the amount of animal dander moving through the house. If this isn't possible, close the register only in the room in which you want to reduce the dander.
Do not allow your pet on carpets or upholstered furniture.
Wash regularly any rugs, pillows, pet beds, or other items the pet has contact with.
People who are allergic to small rodents, such as mice or gerbils, can sometimes be allergic to a substance in the animal's urine as well as its dander. If you are allergic, have other family members clean the litter box. Or keep your pets outside your home in a garage or shed.
Consider finding your pet a new home if your symptoms are severe. You will have to think about how important your pets are to you versus how bad your allergy symptoms are. You will also have to think about how happy or well-behaved a pet will be if it is kept outdoors and away from you.
Even after you remove a pet, it may take many months before the change has a noticeable effect. You may also need to remove items that the pet slept on or was often around.
Adults spend one-third of their time and children spend half of their time in their bedrooms, so it is important that you take steps to prevent allergens in this room.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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