Dust mites are tiny creatures that thrive in warm, humid environments. They prefer temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher and a humidity of 75-80%. When the humidity drops below 50%, they die off, so they are not usually found in dry climates. The intensity of dust mite allergies can vary from mild to severe. Mild cases may cause occasional runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing.
Severe cases may be chronic and cause persistent sneezing, coughing, congestion, facial pressure, eczema outbreaks, or severe asthma attacks. The body tries to fight off the dust mites by releasing histamine, which causes the symptoms of dust mite allergies. Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) is a way to treat dust mite allergies without injections. People who have asthma, eczema, hay fever (allergic rhinitis), or a family history of atopy are more likely to develop dust mite allergies. Pets such as cats and dogs can also trigger dust allergies due to the allergens found in their dander (dead skin cells).The symptoms of dust mite allergies are similar to those of the common cold, making it difficult to determine if the allergy is caused by dust mites or another allergen.
To get an accurate diagnosis, it is best to seek professional help. Your healthcare provider may recommend or prescribe medicines to treat dust mite allergy symptoms. In most homes, items such as bedding, upholstered furniture, and rugs provide an ideal environment for dust mites. To reduce the risk of developing a dust mite allergy, it is important to keep these items clean and dry. Vacuuming regularly and using air purifiers can also help reduce the number of dust mites in your home. Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to something like pollen or, in this case, dust mites.
If you have symptoms of dust mite allergy on a regular basis, especially if they affect your daily quality of life, it is important to see your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis.