When a person has indoor or home allergies, the body’s immune system mistakenly reacts to substances like dust, mold, animal dander, or animal saliva as invaders. These substances are called allergens. They do not cause allergy symptoms for most people, but in people with one of these allergies, an allergic reaction occurs as the immune system tries to fight off the allergen.
Common indoor or home allergens include:
- Mold: Mold spores can be carried in the air in damp places, such as basements, bathrooms, or washrooms, or on fabrics, rugs, stuffed animals or books that have been kept in damp areas. Mold also lives outdoors in soil, compost and damp vegetation.
- Pet dander: People who are allergic to animals are allergic to their pet’s dander (the small scales of skin that they shed) or their saliva, but not their fur or feathers.
- Dust: Household dust carries many tiny particles in it, including pollen, mold spores, clothing fibers, detergents, animal dander, tiny insects called dust mites, parts of cockroaches, bacteria, food particles and other debris. Dust allergy is most often a reaction to dust mites, animal dander or cockroach debris.
- Other irritants in the environment: Smoke, fumes from cleaning products, tobacco, powder, and laundry detergents can cause allergy-like symptoms even though there is no immune system reaction to them.
Allergens enter the body through the eyes, airways or skin, leading to symptoms such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Itchy nose, eyes, throat, or skin
- Runny nose
- Sinus pressure
- Redness in the eyes
- Tearing eyes
Doctors Who Treat Indoor Allergies
As your allergies are diagnosed and treated, you may need to see more than one doctor. These providers may be part of the care team for this condition.
- Allergist/Immunologist: Commonly referred to as an allergist, this type of doctor is specially trained to diagnose, treat and manage allergies, asthma and other disorders of the immune system.
- Pediatric Allergist/Immunologist: This type of doctor is specially trained to diagnose, treat and manage allergies, asthma and other disorders of the immune system in children.
- Internist: Doctors who provide general medical care for adults. Adults with indoor allergies may initially be diagnosed and treated by an internist.
- Pediatrician: Doctor who specializes in the medical care of children. Children with indoor allergies may initially be diagnosed and treated by a pediatrician.