Many people suffer from perennial allergies which means they are affected throughout the year. Most of these allergens are found indoors and result in allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, and allergic asthma similar to that caused by seasonal allergies.
What are the common indoor allergens?
Common indoor allergens include:
• Dust mites
• Pet dander
• Cockroach droppings
• Indoor molds
What are the symptoms of indoor allergies?
Indoor allergies can cause allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis and allergic asthma.
The most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis are:
- Post nasal drip
- Clear and watery nasal discharge
- Congestion (stuffy nose)
- Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
- Watery eyes
The most common symptoms of allergic asthma are:
- Wheezing (whistling sound of air moving through narrowed airways)
- Chest Tightness
- Coughing (particularly at night and early morning)
- Shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
The most common symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis are:
- Itchy eyes
- Redness of the eye
- Burning eyes
How are indoor allergies diagnosed?
If indoor allergies are suspected, your allergist will ask you about your health and family history and perform a physical exam. He or she will ask you to fill out a questionnaire about your symptoms to determine what type of symptoms you have, their severity and where and when the occur. It will about your home, work and/or school environment. Your allergist may perform allergy tests to determine what you are allergic to and how severe the allergy is. These tests include skin tests via prick technique or intradermal injection, blood tests (RAST) or challenge testing. The test results alone do not diagnose allergies. All test results must be interpreted together with the medical history.
Who gets indoor allergies?
Indoor allergies affect people of all ages. Children of parents who are affected by allergies are more likely to be affected as well.
How are indoor allergies treated?
Treatment is determined on an individual basis as prescribed by your physician. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our allergy and asthma specialists.
Is there a cure for allergies?
There is no cure for allergies, but most allergies can be easily treated with medication and symptoms may be eliminated by avoidence and/or immunotherapy.
Some children may outgrow certain allergies. However, typically, once a substance has triggered an allergic reaction, it continues to affect the person.
What are the complications of indoor allergies?
The most serious complication is anaphylaxis which is a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Other complications include:
- Breathing problems
- Discomfort during the allergic reaction
- Drowsiness and other side effects of medicines
Can you prevent allergies?
Breast-feeding children for at least 4 months or more may help prevent atopic dermatitis, cow milk allergy, and wheezing in early childhood.
There is also evidence that infants exposed to certain airborne allergens (such as dust mites and cat dander) may be less likely to develop related allergies. This is called the “hygiene hypothesis” and it developed from observations that infants on farms tend to have fewer allergies than those who grow up in environments that are more sterile.