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Allergies: Avoiding Indoor Triggers

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Allergic rhinitis results in symptoms of sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose. However, you can control these symptoms with medicine and by avoiding the things that cause them (allergens). If you are allergic to indoor allergens, such as dust mites, animal dander, and mold, you can take some simple steps to get them out of your house.

By taking these precautions, you may have fewer symptoms or less severe symptoms.

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To avoid allergens in your home, you need to try to identify what you are allergic to. Work with your doctor to find this out. With this knowledge, you can cut back on the allergens in your home. For example, you may be allergic to your pet. You can then decide what steps to take, such as keeping your pet outside or limiting your pet to certain areas of your home.

Many of these steps are simple and are easy to do. Others may mean changes to your home and furnishings—such as removing carpeting or adding an air-conditioning system—that can be costly or difficult to do. If you live in a rented apartment or house, you may not be able to make some changes. You will need to decide which ones you can do. Try to use as many of them as you can.

Test Your Knowledge

Many steps for controlling allergens in your home are simple and easy to do.


By avoiding or reducing your contact with indoor allergens, you may be able to:

  • Reduce your allergy symptoms and feel much better.
  • Manage your allergy symptoms without medicine or with fewer medicines.
  • Reduce your risk of developing complications of long-term (chronic) allergic rhinitis, such as sinusitis.

Test Your Knowledge

It is useful to try to control allergens in your home, because:

Reducing the allergens may help reduce your allergy symptoms.
You may be able to take fewer allergy medicines.

To reduce allergens inside your home, you can:

  • Remove items where allergens build up, such as stuffed animals or rugs.
  • Use regular cleaning and housekeeping to prevent allergens from building up.

Measures to control allergens throughout your home include:

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.

Other things you can do

Polluted air does not cause allergies, but it can irritate the nose and lungs. This may make it more likely that you will have symptoms.

  • Avoid tobacco smoke, smoke from wood-burning stoves, and fumes from kerosene heaters.
  • If you have a wood-burning stove, try to use one that is airtight and does not leak smoke into your home.

Test Your Knowledge

Most of the allergens in your home are found in dust.


You should pay special attention to controlling allergens in:

The bedroom.
The bathroom.

Talk with your doctor

If you have questions about this information, take a printout with you when you visit your doctor. You may want to mark areas or make notes where you have questions. Your doctor may have more ideas on how you can control allergens in your home.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Last RevisedJune 30, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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