Self Help for Your Dust Allergy Symptoms
Self Help for Dust Allergies
About one person in ten suffers from an allergy to dust mites. Dust mites are microscopic creatures of the arachnid family which also includes spiders and scorpions. Dust mites burrow deep into fibrous objects, such as clothing and carpeting. This makes it difficult to remove them by cleaning or vacuuming.
The Dust Mite World
Dust mites thrive in indoor living spaces. They like temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees and the humidity levels of about 75%. Dust mites feed on shed scales from human skin, which is commonly found in carpeting, bedding, etc.
Symptoms of Dust Mite Allergies
People are not allergic to dust mites themselves, but rather to their fecal matter and decaying body parts. These mite waste products continue to cause allergic reactions long after the mite that produced them has died. Itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, clogged and itchy ear canals, and other respiratory problems are the most common symptoms. Symptoms are often worst at night because dust mites thrive in blankets, pillows and other bedding materials. A little bit of tossing and turning is all is takes to make some of the allergens airborne.
Asthmatic people often have an especially difficult time with dust mites. Respiratory congestion, wheezing, and severe shortness of breathmay occur. Anyone suffering these symptoms should be treated by a licensed physician or asthma specialist.
Self Help for Dust Allergies
Reducing your exposure to dust mites will help to alleviate your symptoms. Here are some effective methods:
- Vacuums equipped with special filtering systems help to reduce the amount of allergens in your home or office.
- Dust mites live in areas with high concentrations of dust and debris. A cleaner house means fewer dust mites.
- Focus on your bedroom. You probably spent one-third or more of your time there and it is often the room with the most dust mites.
- Encase your box spring, mattress, and pillows in dust proof covers. An average bed can contain as many as ten million dust mites! Yikes!
- Use polyester fiberfill pillows instead of kapok or feather pillows.
- Use window shades instead of curtains or venetian blinds (both are dust magnets).
- Wash blankets in hot water. Do not use wool or down blankets.
- Avoid dust collecting knickkancks such as wall pennants, macrame hangings, throw pillows, and stuffed animals. Furniture should be wood, leather, plastic or metal--as upholstered furniture tends to trap dust and become a site for dust mites to grow.
- Use hard wood or linoleum floors in place of carpeting. Dust mites love carpeting because it keeps them and well fed with human skin cells and fingernail residue.
- Adjust the climate in your home. Use a dehumidifier and turn down the thermostat. Dust mites don't survive for long when the humidity below drops below 55 percent. Dust mites don't drink water like we do, they absorb it from the air through their skin. If it is too dry they will die of thirst.
- Use specially designed filtration systems for furnaces and air conditioning units. These filters capture airborne allergens. It is also a good idea to place a cheesecloth screen over your bedroom heating vents to mimimize dust coming from a forced air style heating system.
About the Author: Michael has written several other articles on Allergy Symptoms.