Q. Can old carpet cause irritated throat and eyes, nasal congestion, rapid sneezing, and headache?

Answered by
Dr. Shyam Kalyan. N
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 03, 2022

Hi doctor,

I am a 61-year-old male, generally in good health, and have no known allergies or asthma. For the past ten years, I have lived in a house with an old carpet in the combined living and dining area. Before seven years, I had an irritated throat and eyes, nasal congestion, rapid sneezing, and headache. After spending long hours in the living area, I often felt very tired, so I stopped using the living area, and those symptoms cleared in a few weeks. No other changes in lifestyle, daily regime, or diet were made during those weeks. And before four years, I also stopped using the dining area. Although I am now clear of those symptoms, they come back every time I vacuum the carpet in that area. What should I do now?



Welcome to

There are two parts to your query.

First, your allergies. Clinically they appear to be due to house dust mites rampant in curtains, carpets, furry objects, cushions, etc. The only permanent way to rid yourself of these is by taking allergy shots or drops. Before that, we will do skin prick allergy testing to ascertain. The second is the carpet inspection report. The exhaustive report does not mention dust mites. It is not possible to find out dust mites like that. They are microscopic. Is it possible to remove the carpet from the room? Any chance that is possible? It will save you a lot of trouble, except the one encountered while removing the carpet.

Thank you.

Hi doctor,

Thank you for the reply.

As I mentioned, the symptoms cleared once I stopped using the carpeted area, so I would like to avoid any medications if possible. As for the carpet report, it was not meant to be an environmental analysis, just an overall assessment of the state and the age of the carpet to help make decisions regarding its future use. You are quite right; finding dust mites is quite challenging without specialist equipment; however, knowing how old is the carpet and the abuse it has taken because of bad maintenance and large dogs sleeping on it, the carpet has accumulated a large amount of dust and animal dander, hence likely to harbor a large amount of dust mites. I shall follow your advice to remove and replace the carpet. It seems the only available option if one does not want to remain stuck with allergies and medications.

Thank you.



Welcome back to

Getting rid of it is the best option. As a corollary, you should avoid all those which could acquire large amounts of dust. You should avoid pets also. Considering your clear clinical history, i would say, once you remove the carpet, your issue is sorted. You would not suffer from allergies thereafter.

Thank you.

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