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Dust Mites and Allergies

February 18, 2021

Dust Mites and Allergies

If you suffer from asthma or allergies, a tiny creature that lives in your home could be causing these issues for you. While you can't see them, you might be experiencing an allergic reaction to them. They're known as dust mites, and they live in a lot of homes all over the world.

What Are Dust Mites?

Dust mites measure only around a quarter to a third of a millimeter. They're so small, you can't see them with your naked eye. They look like white bugs under a microscope. They're not insects though, because they have eight legs - they're actually arthropods, like spiders.

They thrive in 68 to 77 degree F temperatures. They also like 70% to 80% humidity levels. There are a minimum of 13 species of mites, and they're very well adapted to your home's inside environment. They mostly feed off of the tiny human skin flakes individuals shed on a daily basis. And, your dead skin flakes can make their way into inner layers of:

  • Carpets
  • Furniture
  • Stuffed toys
  • Mattresses
  • Bedding
  • And more

What Is a Dust Mite Allergy?

A dust mite allergy is a type of allergic reaction to dust mites, which commonly live in your house dust. The physician might suspect you have a dust mite allergy based on your answers to certain questions about your house and on your symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of an Allergy to Dust Mites?

Symptoms of dust mite allergy are:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Red, itchy, or watery eyes
  • Cough
  • Postnasal drip
  • Blue-colored, swollen skin under your eyes
  • Itchy roof of mouth, nose, or throat
  • Facial pain and pressure
  • Frequent rubbing of the nose in children

Your dust mite allergy could range from being mild to severe. With a mild dust mite allergy case, it might cause watery eyes, an occasional runny nose, and sneezing. But, in more severe cases, it might be chronic (ongoing), and result in persistent cough, sneezing, facial pressure, congestion, or severe asthma attack.

How Is an Allergy to Dust Mites Diagnosed?

Your physician might use a lighted tool to check the lining of your nose, and confirm if you're dealing with a dust mite allergy.

They may order some tests, such as an:

  1. Allergy Skin Test

The physician might recommend an allergy test to see what you're allergic to. They might refer you to an allergy specialist for the test. Very small amounts of purified allergen extracts, which include a dust mite extract, are pricked into the surface of your skin for this test. This is typically performed on your forearm, but it could be performed on your upper back.

The doctor will then observe your skin, and after 15 minutes will check for signs of allergic reaction. If you do have dust mite allergies, you'll develop an itchy, red bump where the doctor pricked the dust mite extract into your skin.

  1. Allergy Blood Test

Some individuals can't undergo skin tests because they take certain medication, or have a skin condition that could impact the results. As an alternative, the physician might order a blood test for screening for certain allergy-causing antibodies to a variety of common allergens, like dust mites. The test should also show how sensitive you are to a particular allergen.

What Is the Treatment for a Dust Mite Allergy?

Avoidance

Prevention is the best cure for many things, including dust mites. So, the most essential step is avoiding dust mites as much as you can. Limiting your dust mite exposure will decrease your symptoms, but know that it can be difficult to avoid dust mites entirely. Below we list some tips to help to keep dust mites out of the bedroom.

Medications

You might also require medicine to control symptoms. Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications might help decrease dust mite allergy symptoms.

These might include:

  1. Antihistamines: These come in liquids, pills, or nose sprays. They could relieve itching and sneezing in your eyes and nose. They also decrease a runny nose and nasal stuffiness to a lesser extent.
  2. Leukotriene Receptor Antagonists: These block the action of essential chemical messengers (except histamine) that are involved in allergic reactions.
  3. Nasal Corticosteroids: These are a type of nose spray, and help decrease nose swelling and block allergic reactions. They're most effective for allergic rhinitis, since they can decrease all symptoms, which includes nasal congestion.
  4. Decongestants: These come in liquids, pills, drops, and nose sprays. They help shrink your nasal passages lining, and relieve stuffiness. You should only use them for a short time period.
  5. Cromolyn Sodium: This is a nose spray that works by blocking the release of chemicals like leukotrienes and histamine that result in allergy symptoms.

Many individuals with a dust mite allergy don't obtain total relief from medication. This means they might consider allergy shots (immunotherapy), which is a long-term treatment that could help reduce or prevent the severity of your allergic reaction. It could decrease the course of allergic disease by altering the immune response of your body to allergens.

Tips to Keep Dust Mites Out of the Bedroom

Some tips to follow to keep dust mites out of your bedroom include:

  1. Eliminate all types of fabric mites like, and that you can't wash regularly in hot water easily. Avoid things like:
  • Blinds
  • Curtains
  • Down-filled pillows and covers
  • Wall-to-wall carpeting
  • Upholstered furniture

Instead of curtains, put shades that roll up on your windows.

  1. Cover pillows and mattresses in a dust-proof, zippered cover. These covers are crafted of a material that has such small pores, it won't allow dust mites and their waste to fall through. They're known as allergen-impermeable. vinyl or plastic overs are cheaper, but some individuals don't find them that comfortable. There are fabric allergen-impermeable covers you'll find at various bedding stores.
  1. Wash your blankets and sheets once a week in hot water. To kill dust mites, however, you'll need to wash them in water that is a minimum of 130 degrees F.
  1. Use certified filter vacuum cleaners when vacuuming, which help keep dust mites and their waste from making it back into the air. They're scientifically tested and confirmed to be more suitable for ensuring your home stays healthier.

Other Dust Mite Allergy Tips

Some other dust mite allergy tips you can follow are:

  1. Dusty objects: Try not to handle objects that have dust covering them like boxes or books that have been stored in cupboards or shelves for a long time.
  1. Other rooms: If you're traveling and plan on sleeping away from your own bedroom, bring a non-allergenic pillow with you.
  1. Avoid using a humidifier in your bedroom. Dust mites tend to thrive in humid environments.
  1. Wear a mask when vacuuming, and stay out of the room for a while afterwards. Have an individual clean your bedroom who doesn't have a dust mite allergy. If you can't find anyone, at least wear a mask when you vacuum or dust. You'll find these at most drug stores. Vacuuming and dusting stirs dust up, therefore after you've performed these chores, stay out of the room for a little while afterwards.

Keep in mind though, It's may not be enough to just vacuum to eliminate dust mites and their waste. A lot of dust mites will remain, since they reside deep inside the stuffing of:

  • Pillows
  • Mattresses
  • Carpeting
  • Sofas
  • Chairs

How the Eco Terra Mattress Helps With Dust Mites

An Eco Terra Hybrid Latex Mattress is naturally antimicrobial, which makes it very resistant to dust mites. There are antimicrobial properties in natural latex mattresses which make them a healthy and safe mattress choice. Also, because they're antimicrobial mattresses, they're also resistant to mold, bacteria, mildew, bedbugs, fungi, and other harmful allergens.

It's the dust mites feces that is the allergy itself. The dust mites find ideal conditions for developing and existing in the inside of toppers, pillows, mattresses, and quilted fabric because there's plenty of heat and moisture in them, which they need. When you're sleeping, you're shedding dead skin, and this is dust mite food.

But, by purchasing an Eco Terra Latex mattress that is naturally antimicrobial, you're benefited in a number of ways. Plus, when you sleep on an antimicrobial mattress, you know you're being protected from dust mites and other harmful allergens.

Patrick Gunther

Patrick is an accomplished writer. He has been in the retail mattress space for the past 11 years, and more specifically in the natural mattress niche. He blogs on the subjects of natural mattresses, sleep, health, fitness, and green living.



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