Sneezing Since You’ve Been Staying Home More? It Could Be Allergies

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woman sitting on couch holding tissue to nose with both hands

The average person’s home is a minefield of allergic triggers that can cause respiratory symptoms in people who are sensitized to them.

Dust mites are a common problem in the bedroom and on carpets and upholstered furniture. Indoor mold is another possibility, especially in more humid climates. And if you have a cat or dog, while they may be a great source of emotional support, they are also filling your house with pet dander – even the so-called hypoallergenic ones.

Think about where you’re spending the most time in your house. Are you working from the upholstered couch with your dog curled up next to you? Are you in a carpeted office next to a set of dusty drapes your grandma gave you?

Heading into the fall is a good time to do some cleaning and remove potential allergen sources, says Lauren Hadney, DO, who specializes in internal medicine at UH South Primary Care. If cleaning the whole house or apartment seems overwhelming, focus on the room where you spend the most time, or try to work somewhere without soft materials, carpets, or your cat underfoot.

Keeping Allergies Under Control

“We’re all going to be social distancing and sheltering in place for a while still. And those are really important measures in the effort to control the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Hadney says. “But there are concrete things you can do now to help mitigate allergy symptoms in this new normal.”

Call your primary care doctor to set up a telehealth or phone appointment to discuss your symptoms. “This is especially important if you have asthma, as allergies and asthma go hand in hand,” Dr. Hadney says. “Especially now, it’s essential to reduce the underlying allergic inflammation that can lead to allergic asthma.”

Make an appointment (over telehealth or in-person) to talk to your provider about an allergy blood test once it’s safe and appropriate to do so, as determined by local authorities and your health care provider. Along with your history, getting an allergy test is the best way to have a full picture of all your allergic triggers. This will make exposure management much easier for you – after all, if it turns out you’re allergic to dust mites but not the cat or dog, that’s one less thing to worry about.

Follow the guidance of your health care provider and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control while the pandemic persists.

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At University Hospitals, we believe having a primary care provider is essential to your health and well-being. Our primary care physicians and nurse practitioners provide comprehensive, compassionate and continuous primary care for patients of all ages. We are committed to building a healthy relationship with you and your family to detect and minimize long-term health issues, or just help you get over that illness that's going around. Need a primary care provider? Find one here.

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