Symptoms and Signs of Indoor Allergens

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 1/6/2022

Doctor's Notes on How to Get Rid of Indoor Allergens

Indoor allergens are like almost any other kind of allergen except that they are within the person's home or workplace. Dust is the main allergen in indoor allergens. The usual symptoms and signs of indoor allergies are the same as for other allergens and include

  • itching,
  • stuffy nose,
  • clear nasal discharge,
  • eye discomfort (itchy, watery, swollen),
  • sneezing,
  • scratchy or sore throat,
  • cough,
  • wheezing, and
  • occasionally, more serious symptoms such as tightness in the chest or some difficulty breathing.

Causes of indoor allergens are exposure to substances like dust, dust mites, dander, molds, cockroaches, and household chemicals, for example. These items can trigger the body's immune response to overreact and secrete chemicals, like histamine, that participate in producing the signs and symptoms.

What Are the Treatments for Indoor Allergens?

The treatments begin with decreasing and/or removing any known indoor allergens such as dust, animal dander, molds, cockroaches, and certain chemicals, for example. This first step of treatment is both one of the hardest to do but may be the most effective treatment. Otherwise, the treatments mimic those for hay fever. If you have exposure to indoor antigens, for many people, over-the-counter (OTC) medications (corticosteroids) in nasal sprays work well to control symptoms. Some people may benefit by adding an OTC antihistamine while others may require prescription medicine; the following are examples of such medications (caregivers may recommend taking some OTCs in combination):

Prescription medications include the following:

Other treatments may include the following:

  • Allergy shots
  • Under-the-tongue allergy tablets
  • Sinus rinses: Use with caution, and follow directions for use carefully.

Your allergist can help design a treatment plan for your allergy problems.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.