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Dust Allergies: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

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Dust allergies are surprisingly common and it is not a pleasant thing to have to deal with. In fact, the symptoms can make you feel as if you are suffering from asthma or an endless cold.

Luckily, there are several steps you can take to help get rid of dust mite allergens, as well as your allergies. Improving your wellbeing can be as simple as keeping your bedding clean and installing an air purifier.

Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms

Many people don’t realize that they have a dust mite problem, since the symptoms for dust allergies are very similar to those of pollen allergies.

Symptoms include the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy, red, watery eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • Stuffy, runny, itchy nose
  • Trouble sleeping

Alongside the above symptoms, long-term exposure to these allergens can potentially lead to asthma and sinus infections.

Causes

Dust mites are tiny creatures that belong to the spider family. They can be found in many homes and it is believed that about 20 million Americans are affected by dust mite allergies. They feed on the dead skin cells you regularly shed.

It is the remnants of these bugs, including their feces and decaying bodies, which tend to be the main cause of the allergy. This can be found all over the home, but they are particularly concentrated in your bedding, mattress and carpeting.

Any time you disturb your bedding or vacuum your home, you can send these articles floating up into the air. Inhaling them will cause your immune system to produce antibodies against these normally harmless substances.

Treatments and Prevention

In order to prevent symptoms, there are medications you can take, including decongestants and antihistamines. However, if you suffer from more severe symptoms, then you may require an allergy shot.

While medication can help, there are simple steps you can take to keep dust mites at bay. In order to relieve dust mite allergies, it is best that you take the proper precautions to keep your home dust-free.

Steps you can take

Even if you keep a relatively clean household, it is easy to create an environment where dust mites can thrive. Dust mites tend to like warm, moist environments, so a bedroom can be the ideal home for them.

Since carpeting, bedding and cushions all help to trap and hold moisture that is where they tend to collect. In order to keep your bed dust-mite free, you should:

  • Wash all bedding in hot water at least once a week. This includes sheets, bed covers, pillowcases and blankets.
  • Keep your mattress clean with regular vacuuming and by having them professionally cleaned on a periodic basis.

Additional steps you can take include:

  • Regularly cleaning curtains and upholstered furniture.
  • Avoid dust from accumulating by frequently dusting with a damp microfiber cloth.
  • Regularly vacuum using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and have your carpets professionally cleaned.

Dust mites prefer to live in temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and humidity levels of about 75-80%. Since dust mites are unable to survive in colder and drier places, it can help to install a dehumidifier in your home. Try to keep relative humidity between 30-50%. Reducing exposure to these creatures will help to prevent dust mite allergy symptoms from developing.

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