Dust mites are tiny, insect-like pests that feed on dead human skin cells and thrive in warm, humid environments. They are too small for us to see without a microscope, and they do not bite, sting, or get into our bodies.
Instead, people who are allergic to dust or dust mites react to inhaling dust proteins that come from feces, urine, or the decaying bodies of dust mites. Any swelling (also called inflammation) of the nasal passages caused by dust mites is considered dust allergy.
The most common type of dust mite found in Australian homes is Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, which tends to prefer coastal areas to inland areas. This mite has been associated with dermatological and respiratory allergies in humans, such as eczema and asthma. However, there is no single, definitive sign that house dust mites trigger allergy symptoms in a person. Asthma, for example, can be triggered by a variety of other indoor allergens, such as fungi (molds) or animal dander (hair, hair, or feathers). Allergic reactions are dose-related, so the fewer dust mites you have at home, the fewer respiratory or dermatological symptoms you'll have.
Not only should you reduce the population of dust mites, but also take steps to remove their corpses and feces from your home. For example, you could undergo allergen immunotherapy. External link, which involves deliberately exposing yourself to dust mite extracts to “train” the immune system so that it doesn't overreact. Sublingual (under the tongue) immunotherapy (SLIT) is a way to treat dust mite allergies without the need for injections. Dust mites are almost everywhere; about four out of five homes in the United States have dust mite allergens in at least one bed. It's important to remember that dead dust mite droppings continue to cause allergic reactions. Some signs and symptoms of dust mite allergy, such as a runny nose or sneezing, are similar to those of the common cold.
Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a foreign substance, such as pollen, pet dander, or dust mites. Many people with dust mite allergies also have signs of asthma, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing. Dust mites can live on bedding, mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets, or curtains in the house. If tests show that you're allergic to house dust mites, there are ways to reduce your immune system response. Continuous exposure to dust mites in the home can affect the health of people with asthma and those who are allergic or sensitive to dust mites.
If you take steps to reduce the number of dust mites in your home, you can control dust mite allergy.
Tips for Reducing Dust Mite AllergiesDust mites feed on organic matter such as skin cells that people have shed and instead of drinking water they absorb water from moisture in the atmosphere. To reduce your exposure to these allergens:
- Wash bedding weekly in hot water (at least 130°F) and dry them on high heat.
- Use allergen-proof covers on mattresses and pillows.
- Remove carpets from bedrooms.
- Vacuum regularly with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner.
- Keep humidity levels low (below 50%) by using a dehumidifier.
- Avoid stuffed animals and other items that collect dust.
ConclusionDust mite allergies can be difficult to manage but with proper prevention and treatment strategies you can reduce your exposure and improve your quality of life. Taking steps to reduce the number of dust mites in your home is an important part of controlling your allergy symptoms.
If you have severe allergies or asthma symptoms that don't respond well to these measures, talk to your doctor about other treatments such as allergen immunotherapy.