7 tips to control indoor allergies at home

Know practical ways to control indoor allergies that may cause respiratory and nasal problems, especially during change of season.
Prevent indoor allergies by keeping your surroundings clean. Image courtesy: Freepik
Purvi Kalra Published: 31 Mar 2024, 15:00 pm IST
Medically Reviewed by

Allergies can strike anytime of the year. But they are most common during season change. Be it the home in general or our clothes, it is easy for allergens to find their way indoors and cause respiratory or nasal problems. If you suffer from allergies that worsen even during your time spent indoors, then this one is for you!

What causes indoor allergies?

Indoor allergies can be caused by various factors, points out wellness physician Dr Kiran R Dhake.

1. Dust pests

Some microscopic organisms survive in warm & humid environments, such as bedding, blankets, curtains, upholstered furniture, and carpets. Other commonest breeding sites are fan blades and AC vents, says the expert.

2. Pet contact

Sometimes, tiny specs of skin or skin tags themselves are shed by pets – cats, dogs, birds, rodents, and other animals with fur or feathers.

Indoor allergies are as common as outdoor allergies. Understand its causes, symptoms, and tips to control them. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Pollen

Though pollen contact is associated with outdoor or environmental allergic conditions, pollen can be carried indoors through indoor plants, and can be also carried on stuff toys, clothing, shoes, bags or through open windows and doors.

4. Mould

Indoor allergies can be caused by fungi that thrive in damp areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, lower parts of walls, balconies, basements, and around leaky pipes.

5. Animal/bird/insect excreta

Particles from excreta from various organisms become airborne and trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

6. Indoor irritants

In our day-to-day life, there are various products used indoors that can become triggers including smoke, strong odour products like perfumes, household cleaners, mosquito coil and aerosol sprays, which can provoke the respiratory system and aggravate allergy symptoms”.

Symptoms of indoor allergies

Some of the common symptoms of indoor allergies include:

1. Runny or itchy or stuffy/blocked nose.
2. Repeated sneezing.
3. Itchy or watery eyes with or without redness.
4. Coughing with or without wheezing
5. Chest discomfort or chest tightness.
6. Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
7. Skin rashes.
8. Post nasal drip – persistent, dry cough.

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How to reduce indoor allergies?

Controlling allergens in the home environment can significantly diminish indoor allergy symptoms. Here are the remedies highlighted by the expert:

Indulge in regular cleaning of your house to manage indoor allergies. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

1. Regular cleaning

Frequent cleaning drives are essential to eliminate dust mites, animal excreta, and other allergens.

• Periodical vacuum cleaning of the carpets, rugs, fur furniture, and upholstery weekly using a device equipped with a HEPA filter to trap small particles.
• Cleaning of low-lying surfaces which can have a significant amount of dust, with a damp cloth to prevent allergens from becoming airborne.

2. Regular washing drive

• Weekly dry washing of the bedding, including bed sheets, pillowcases, and blankets in hot water to kill dust mites.
• It is recommended to use a hypoallergenic mattress and pillow covers to create a barrier against allergens.

3. Maintain low humidity and control moisture

Dust mites and mould thrive in humid and warm environments.

• Keep indoor humidity levels between 30-50 percent by using a dehumidifier in damp areas such as basements and bathrooms.
• Install exhaust fans in the bathrooms and kitchen.
• Put a plastic cover over dirt in crawlspaces to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground. Be sure crawlspaces are well-ventilated.
• Fix leaks promptly and ensure proper ventilation to prevent moisture.

4. Reduce pet contact

There should be minimal animal contact if an individual is prone to developing respiratory allergies. If there is the presence of pets at home, then the expert asks us to follow these precautionary measures:

• Bathe them regularly to reduce the amount of dander they shed.
• Keep pets out of bedrooms and avoid their contact with upholstered furniture.
• Wash their bedding frequently.
• Consider using an air purifier with a HEPA filter to capture pet dander particles.

5. Secure home entry points

Prevent the influx of outdoor allergens like pollen from making their way home by:

• Keeping windows and doors closed, especially during peak pollen seasons.
• Use double-paned windows and allergen-proof window screens.
• Close windows and use an air conditioner during high pollen season.

6. Use allergen-proof covers and hypoallergenic protectors

• Cover mattresses, pillows, and upholstered furniture with allergen-proof covers to prevent collection dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens from stagnating in these areas.
• Wash these covers periodically in hot water to maintain effectiveness.

7. Improve indoor air quality

Air purification should be undertaken by adhering to the following measures reckoned by the expert:

• Using an air purifier with a HEPA filter with good CADR to eliminate airborne allergens from indoor air.
• Place the air purifier devices in commonly accessed areas like the bedroom or living room for maximum effectiveness.
• Additionally, regularly replace air filters in your heating and cooling systems to ensure optimal air quality.
• Regular maintenance of air conditioning and heating systems.
Implementation of these countermeasures can well contribute to a more allergy-friendly space and promote better respiratory health by minimizing exposure to allergens and the discomfort associated with allergy symptoms.

Purvi Kalra

After testing her skill-set in the field of management and marketing, Purvi Kalra is exploring the world of turning thoughts to words. Her penchant for writing stems for being an avid reader all her life. Her work drives her to be better every day. ...Read More

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