Signs and Symptoms of Indoor Allergies

Indoor allergy symptoms range from mild to serious. Mild allergy symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes. These symptoms often are referred to collectively as allergic rhinitis.

More serious indoor allergy symptoms include wheezing, tightness in the chest, swelling in the throat, difficulty breathing, and inflammation of the airways. These symptoms are considered signs of asthma.

Other indoor allergy symptoms include coughing, scratchy throat, and nasal congestion. A bluish shading of the skin under the eyes, also known as allergic eyes or allergic shiners, also may indicate an allergy.

The timing of symptoms is an important part of determining the type of indoor allergy. For example, indoor allergy symptoms caused by pet dander occur anytime the person comes in contact with the type of animal that produces the specific allergen. Symptoms can occur immediately or may develop over 8–12 hours. In some cases, a person can be more allergic to particular cats and may have no reaction around other cats.

Dust mite allergy symptoms usually begin in late summer and worsen in fall when colder weather leads to closing windows. Dust mites thrive in humidity and the allergens they emit build up over time. When the windows are closed and fresh air is reduced, the allergens become more concentrated in the air and symptoms may worsen.

Mold allergy symptoms occur anytime the particular mold that causes the allergy is present. Seasonal changes, weather conditions, and conditions within the home (e.g., a wet basement) can affect mold counts.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 22 Oct 2008

Last Modified: 22 Sep 2015