If you have allergy symptoms such as a stuffy nose, sneezing, and watery eyes while inside your home, you could be allergic to dust mites. The tiny creatures live just about everywhere and are hard to get rid of – making millions of allergy sufferers miserable year-round. Learn what you can do to reduce dust mites in your home and better tolerate the ones who stick around.
Where Dust Mites Live
Most homeowners keep their thermostats between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, which is exactly what dust mites find comfortable. If your home’s humidity level is from 70-80%, they’re even more likely to thrive. Dust mites settle into bedding, carpet, furniture and other places where they’re likely to find dead skin cells – which is their favorite source of food.
Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms
Those who have dust mite allergies have a sensitivity to the bugs themselves as well as their dead bodies and waste. If you’re allergic to dust mites your allergy symptoms will include:
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Itchy eyes, nose, mouth, throat and skin
• Postnasal drip (mucus that drips into the throat from the nose, often causing a cough)
• Aggravated asthma symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, and wheezing
Reducing Dust Mites Allergies in Your Home
Although dust mites are hard to eliminate all together, there are ways to reduce their presence so your allergy symptoms aren’t as severe.
• Cover mattresses and pillows with dust proof covers and wash sheets and blankets every week in 130 degree water.
• Replace carpeting with hardwood flooring or tile.
• Take down curtains and hang rolling shades where dust mites won’t settle.
• Use a HEPA vacuum filter to prevent blowing dust mites and their waste into the air.
• Have area rugs dry cleaned since the high heat kills dust mites.
• Use a dehumidifier to reduce your home’s humidity to less than 50%.
• Buy a HEPA air filter with a MERV rating of 5 or higher to trap dust mites and their droppings.
Diagnosing Dust Mite Allergies
If, despite your efforts to reduce dust mites, your allergy symptoms don’t improve, you should see an allergist. A simple skin prick test will most likely determine whether or not you have a reaction to dust mites and your doctor will speak with you about allergy treatment options that may improve your comfort.
Dust Mite Allergy Treatments
Your doctor will first suggest over the counter medications such as antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays, and decongestants to relieve your allergy symptoms. If those don’t help, one of the following immunotherapy treatments may work:
Allergy shots. By slowly introducing injections of the dust mite allergen into your immune system, your symptoms may be reduced. Many patients get relief of their allergies after one to three years.
Sublingual immunotherapy. Small doses of the dust mite allergen are placed under the tongue, improving tolerance and reducing symptoms. This requires fewer visits to the office than allergy shots.
Sound Health Physicians are Dust Mite Allergy Experts
You don’t have to keep dealing with frustrating allergy symptoms. Schedule an appointment with a Sound Health allergist to determine if you are allergic to dust mites and get the relief you need. Call us today at (314) 332-1377 in MO and (618) 235-3687 in IL.