Dust Allergy Causes, Symptoms, and Relief
The dust has settled
If you suffer from dust allergies, you already know about the sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes that impact your everyday life. The primary cause of indoor dust allergies is the presence of dust mites. These nasty little buggers feed off of the everyday dust found in most homes.1 A dust allergy can make being indoors almost unbearable.
What is dust made of?
This may fall into the category of questions you don’t want to know the answer to, but here is the not-so-pretty truth: household dust is made up of dust mites, hair, dead skin cells, pollen, soil, and lots more icky stuff.2
As you move around your space, you kick up the dust that has accumulated in your house. It floats around for a bit, then falls to the floor after picking up more substances (in other words, after making more dust).2
Where does it come from?
The short answer is that dust comes from both inside and outside your house.³ Pollen and other airborne particles enter the house when you do. They can also get in when you open a window. Particles get on your clothes and shoes, which bring these unwelcome visitors inside.
Things get a little bit more complicated when you take a closer look at indoor dust. Carpeting, upholstered furniture, pillows, and bedding are all made up of fibers. When these fibers start to decay, particles enter the air and contribute to the dust in our homes.³
Now comes the part no one really wants to talk about. Specifically, the "other stuff" that makes up the household dust. Pet dander, skin flakes and a lovely mixture of other insects or bugs often contribute to what we call dust.³
What you can do about it
Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are lots of easy, everyday things you can do to greatly reduce the amount of dust in your home. Some easy ways to do this include:⁴
Increasing the flow of outdoor air
Using air cleaners with certified asthma and allergy friendly filters
Vacuuming frequently with certified asthma and allergy friendly filters
If your allergies are flaring up, or you are particularly sensitive to dust, consider wearing a mask while doing your household cleaning. Also keep in mind that while a good-quality vacuum with a clean filter is an excellent weapon in the fight against allergies, the opposite is also true; a poor-quality vacuum can actually put more dust back into the air.⁴
Your furry friends
All cats and dogs — even hairless ones — contain allergens. That’s because the source of pet allergies isn’t actually in the fur, but in a protein found in a pet’s saliva or urine.5 Some dog and cat breeds contain fewer allergens than others, but when you hear that a dog breed is “hypoallergenic” it simply means that they don’t shed as much, so there is less fur for allergens to stick to.5 No dog breed is truly hypoallergenic or completely allergen free.
If you already have a pet, or are looking to make your home a safer place for an allergy sufferer, here are three easy things you can do to greatly reduce pet allergy symptoms:6
- Designate a room or section of your home as a “pet-free zone.” Keep pets from entering certain rooms and you will greatly reduce the chances of pet dander settling in those areas.
- Use HEPA air purifiers throughout your home. A good-quality air purifier, with a filter that’s changed often, is a great way to keep clean air circulating throughout your home.
- Give your pets a bath at least once a week. Not all cats and dogs love bath time, but they’ll get used to it. You should also make sure to use shampoo that is specifically designed for your kitten, puppy, cat, or dog.
Allegra® is here to help fight dust allergies
Allegra® is on your side, whether you're inside or out. If you experience sneezing, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes or an itchy nose and throat, nasal congestion, sinus congestion and pressure, or swelling of nasal passages, Allegra® has products that can help.
With a comprehensive range of products, you’re sure to find the one that works best for your indoor allergy symptoms. No matter which product you choose, you can feel good knowing Allegra® is the #1 allergist-recommended allergy medicine brand for non-drowsy relief.†
- American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Editors. Dust Allergy, American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (acaai.org),
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Editors. Mold Allergy, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (aaaai.org), 2021
- Chemical & Engineering News, Janet Pelley. Tracing the chemistry of household dust, Chemical & Engineering News (cen.acs.org),
- National Public Radio, Joe Palca. The Dirt On Dust, National Public Radio (npr.org),
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Editors. Control Indoor Allergens to Improve Indoor Air Quality, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (aafa.org),
- Mayo Clinic, James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D. Pet allergy: Are there hypoallergenic dog breeds?, Mayo Clinic,
- The Humane Society of the United States, Editors. How to live with allergies and pets, The Humane Society of the United States,
†Among OTC oral antihistamines.