How dust mites affect your allergies, and what to do about it
Dust itself is a regular problemin the common household. Dust makes things dirty, it affects our health, and itcan be just plain itchy. Dust allergies can even trigger asthma symptoms likewheezing and tightness in your chest. Between home, work, and the differentplaces we visit during the day, dust is a persistent problem.
So… what is dust?
Dust is a lot grosser than youthink it is. Insect waste, mold, pollen, human skin, and plain old dirt make upthe dirty, itchy substance that we call dust. You’ll immediately notice somethings in that make up which already trigger allergies. Things like pollen andinsect waste that we’re already allergic to can compound your allergies when itcollects as dust – this is why we and other allergy specialists alwaysrecommend having a tidy home to maintain allergies.
The biggest contributor to ourallergies from dust are the dust mites. A lot people have heard of dust mites,but aren’t exactly sure of what they are. Think of them as basicallymicroscopic spiders that feed on the things that make up dust. They like tohang out on our beds, furniture, carpets, and really anywhere dust can settle.
Dust mites aren’t like otherpests where you’ll be able to see or at least identify if they’re there. Youwould need a microscope to find these little guys hanging out. They also arenot one of the pests that you can simply eliminate from your home. Dust mitesaren’t going away completely, but you can limit the amount of them that affect yourlife. More on that later in this post.
How do I know if dust mites are affecting me?
Dust mite allergies are a lotlike mold where you can’t pinpoint a specific “season” which they thrive.Because of this, you can’t really use a pollen count or time of the year toaddress your symptoms and “diagnose” your allergy. Obviously the best way todetermine the specifics and severity of your allergy is to get an allergy test,but that’s not always an option for everyone. Here are some signs that you mayhave a dust mite allergy:
· Lasting allergy or asthmasymptoms after being in a dusty environment. These are symptoms that would be worse thancommon sneezing from dust particles entering your nose. If you’re experiencinga stuffy nose, a cough, or nasal drip hours after being in a dusty environment,you may have a dust mite allergy.
· Allergy symptoms year-round. If you’re suffering fromallergies year round, dust mites could be one of the major causes of this.
· Worse allergies in certainenvironments.If you notice your allergies orbreathing getting worse in specific places, it could be a sign of dust mitesaffecting you.
So how I get rid of dust mites?
This is the million-dollarquestion – or however much you spend on allergy medicine over the year. Eventhough dust mites aren’t going to be eliminated, a lot of basic cleaning willsignificantly lower the amount in your home.
· Regular housecleaning: Weekly dusting, vacuuming, mopping,and washing sheets in hot water will drastically cut down on the amount of dustmites living in your home. Protip: Get a vacuum with a HEPA filter to stop dust mites from beingput back into the air.
· If possible, wash rugs and curtains:Dustmites love to settle in any fabric they can find so if you have rugs and curtainsthat can be washed that’s a plus.
· Buy dust mite covers for your bed andpillows: We don’t wash our actualmattresses or pillows too often and that allows dust mites to make nice cozyhomes in spots that we spend a lot of our day. These covers will stop dustmites from affecting your pillows and you can clean them in one fell swoop bywashing the sheet and cover.
· Get a HEPA air purifier: One of these will eliminate 99% of ALLallergens in your home – not just dust mites. These can seem costly as firstbut they are more than worth the price of having your home allergy free 365days a year.
· Keep track of your humidity: Try to keep the indoor humidityless than 50%. Dust mites thrive in humid environments. You can achieve that bygetting a dehumidifier as well as by having the A/C fan run periodically duringtimes you aren’t using it regularly.
Of course, we would definitely recommendstarting immunotherapy via allergy drops or shots to build a long-termresistance to your allergies, but these are some nice stop gaps if you’re in abind. Dust and dust mites have a large affect on your health and addressingthese problems early and properly will have you breathing easy.