Inhalant Allergies: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Aubrey Bailey, PT, DPT, CHTis a physical therapist with over 20 years of experience in a variety of healthcare settings.

Learn about our editorial processPublished on October 28, 2021Medically reviewedVerywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.byDaniel More, MD Medically reviewed byDaniel More, MD

Daniel More, MD, is a board-certified allergist and clinical immunologist with a background in internal medicine.

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Allergies are caused by your body reacting to substances in the air that you breathe.

Although airborne allergies are caused by harmless things, your body identifies these substances as “foreign.” This leads to your allergy symptoms—sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and more.

Inhalant allergies commonly include indoor allergens (such as dust mites) and outdoor allergens (such as pollen and mold).

Learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of inhalant allergies in this article.

Common Inhalant Allergies

Inhalant allergies can be caused by a variety of airborne substances, both inside and outside. Seasonal allergies, also called “hay fever,” are one of the most common types of inhalant allergies. Air pollution can also trigger symptoms.

Common outdoor allergens and irritants include:

Many inhalant allergies are triggered by indoor allergens and irritants, such as:

Inhalant Allergies: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Inhalant allergies can also be triggered by volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These chemicals, which are released as gases, can be found in a variety of household products, including:


Inhalant allergies cause a similar set of symptoms, regardless of the particular allergen that triggers them. Common symptoms include:

Symptoms of Allergies


A variety of treatments are available for inhalant allergies, even if you don’t know your specific trigger. Both medications and home remedies can be beneficial in reducing your symptoms.

Common medications for allergies include:

While home remedies won’t “fix” your allergies, they can improve your quality of life when you’re living with inhalant allergy symptoms. Home remedies to consider include:

The 7 Best Air Purifiers for Allergies

Link Between Eczema and Inhalant Allergies

If you’ve got eczema (also called atopic dermatitis), you might also be at higher risk of developing inhalant allergies, as well as other types of allergies. The exact reason for this is not well understood, but it’s so common that it has been named the “atopic march.”

The atopic march describes a progression of allergies that often occurs from childhood into adulthood. Infants might start out with eczema, then develop food allergies as they move into childhood. Later in life, they might also develop inhalant allergies, seasonal allergies, and possibly asthma.

Genetics have been linked to the atopic march. A skin defect involving the protein filaggrin allows allergens to more easily enter the body, making a person more prone to allergies. Research has shown that people with this skin defect are also at higher risk of having an inhalant allergy, particularly to pollen.

Eczema refers to a group of conditions that cause skin inflammation, itching, and rashes. There are many types of eczema, including:

A Word From Verywell

Talk to your doctor if you experience symptoms of inhalant allergies—especially if they are occurring frequently. Allergy testing can help you get to the root cause of your symptoms. Once you’ve identified your allergen, you might be able to reduce or even eliminate your exposure to it.

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