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You may be used to sneezing when you’re outside or in your home. But when getting in your car to go to work or somewhere else, you could find that you have sinus problems as well. This made us wonder, can you be allergic to your car?

It’s not the car itself but what’s in the car that’s making you sneeze

A car sits covered in pollen
A car sits covered in pollen | David Goldman Getty Images

While technically not allergic to the car itself, you can be allergic to what’s inside your car. The Allergy Store states, “Those allergy symptoms can be related to mold or other organisms growing in the air-conditioning system.” That mold can come from the AC system’s evaporator coils, drain pan, or even the ducts themselves.

Another potential issue is if the car’s window seals are old, rain or snow can leak into the car, and the moisture can cause mold over time. Dust mites can also build up on the carpeting and upholstery, which can cause you to sneeze.

Additionally, if you like to ride around with windows down in the spring and summertime, pollen can get into your car, which will cause you allergies.

How to protect against allergens in your car

A car wash attendant washes pollen off a car.
A car wash attendant washes pollen off a car. | MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

If you find yourself sneezing a lot in your car, it’s a good idea to clean the interior thoroughly. Vacuuming the carpet and wiping down the interior plastics can help clear out the pollen. Additionally, spraying an ADMS allergen on the seats, carpet, and headliner can neutralize mold, dust mites, and pollen allergens.

Also, if you drive with your pets in the car, buying a set of seat covers that you can easily wash from time to time is a good idea. Doing so can cut down on the amount of pet dander hanging around in your car.

Lastly, make sure to keep the outside elements away from the inside of your car. Check the weather stripping on the windows and replace them if they are old. Age and the sun can do a number on these pieces of rubber, so it could be best to replace them. Also, ensure that the windows are rolled up tightly when driving to keep the outside pollen or air out of the car.

Treat your car like you treat your house

A car wash attendant grabs a vacuum.
A car wash attendant grabs a vacuum. | Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

If you like keeping your house clean in order to prevent dirt and dust buildup over time, it’s a good idea to keep your car just as clean. Over time, the food particles that may be left on your car’s carpet and dust mites can build up. Regularly cleaning and vacuuming certain areas will prevent you and your passenger from getting allergies.

The next time you think you’re allergic to your car, look around it and identify what could be causing you to sneeze. It most likely isn’t the car itself. Although, if the car is brand new, it could be, because some people are allergic to the new car smell.


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